Waterland Review

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Damaged teacher Tom Crick, distant from his equally troubled wife and out of touch with his pupils, in as much an act of catharsis as an attempt to reach them, recounts his coming of age in the fens and the events preceding his birth, all relevant to his life now


An impressive adaptation of Graham Swift's classic tale of love and redemption, this features an inspired performance from Jeremy Irons as a history teacher at an American high school teetering on the edge of a nervous breakdown.

His students are disinterested, his mind is a mess, and all he finds to talk about is his childhood spent on the English Fens. Transporting his pupils back in time Irons recollects and simultaneously re-evaluates past events that reveal the shape of things present. Director Stephen Gyllenhaal handles the time displacement with surprising deftness, effectively capturing the isolation within Irons' character and the desolate landscape.

The cast fare well, but director Stephen Gyllenhaal’s device for merging eras is hit-and-miss