With films like “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”, “Ammonite” and “Lizzie”, it seems filmmakers and writers are trying to compete against each other in an attempt to make the most compelling film showcasing love affair between two women. While “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” is the most beautiful one yet, we get another period drama added to the list, “The World to Come”.
Set in the 19th century in the American Northeast, Abigail (Katherine Waterston) has a poetic personality. She narrates her story, through her diary, of being a farmer’s wife, how she lost her daughter Nellie to diphtheria, and her intimate relationship with the charismatic and bold, Tallie (Vanessa Kirby), with whom she will find herself drawn into a romantic relationship. As the two live their lives being wives to men, they secretly get close to each other until the moment when their intimacy and desire to love and be loved is threatened by the anger and jealousy of a man.
Scripted by Jim Shepard and Ron Hansen and directed by Mona Fastvold, right from the beginning we can sense the ending of the film because of the way Abigail narrated her story behind the scene. Dyer (Casey Affleck) is a somewhat quiet man who isn’t harsh on his wife, Abigail. In fact, he once offers her help if she needs it when he finds her not fulfilling her duties while Tallie’s husband, Finney (Christopher Abbot), can rage over jealousy. He is not as willfully blind as Dyer, hence, decides to take the sensitive matter in his own hands.
“The World to Come” is not one of those films that you need to drop everything you’re doing right now to run and watch it. Yet, it has this peaceful and harmless intention to draw the image of an era that most certainly tried to keep sensitive subjects in the closet. Despite its predictable plot, it delivers the key value of human connection. By getting closer, they found a solace in each other, love, affection, and unity, sadly, can`t last forever.