“The Edge of Love” Review
“First love’s all right as far as it goes…
Last love, that’s what I’m interested in.”
Here is a grand story of love, friendship, loyalty and betrayal pivoting around the life of the famous Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas. The filmmakers haven taken the setting and personalities from Thomas’ life and speculated a beautiful, intricate and subtle tale that is reminiscent of recent classics such as “Atonement”, “Cold Mountain” and “The English Patient”.
Those comparisons should clue you into the fact that this is a film for adults who have experienced the joy and heartache of life-long love and friendship. Those seeking action, cheap thrills or a Keira-Sienna lesbian scene will be sorely disappointed. Thankfully, “The Edge of Love” is far more cerebral than that.
I will concede that women will likely connect with the story on a more personal level. However, this man found it to be a fascinating peek into the dynamics of female relationships. It confirmed my assumption that they are the far more complex sex.
The film is set predominantly in WWII England and Wales. Keira Knightley plays a lounge singer named Vera Phillips — a long-lost childhood friend to Dylan Thomas. Clearly, their history hides some unspoken secrets.
Sienna Miller plays Caitlin — Thomas’ wife. She is a feisty, but fragile woman who simultaneously befriends and distrusts Vera when she re-enters Dylan’s world.
Matthew Rhys portrays Thomas as a cad who blatantly plays the women off each other — reveling in the hints of jealousy. The sexual tensions on screen suggest at infidelity and menage-a-trois without ever going down that road. However, it seems clear that this fictional Thomas is desperately angling to have his cake and eat it too.
When Vera agrees to marry a soldier, William Killick (Murphy), a new dynamic enters the fray. He leaves to fight in the war and the remaining threesome retreat to Wales, living side by side as they await his return. The trio bounce back forth between friendship and tension, love and betrayal. It is a most complicated love triangle.
Killick’s return threatens to upset the delicate balance. His jealousy and war-ravaged personality cause major problems between Vera and her two best friends. The result is the unraveling of the fine thread holding them all together.
Knightley and Miller are two of the epic beauties of this Silver-Screen generation — a fact that may take away some attention from their extraordinary acting talents.
Keira Knightley has been world class in films such as “Atonement”, “Pride & Prejudice” and “Silk”. She has also been a consummate movie star in blockbusters like “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Love Actually”. No one doubts that she is here to stay for decades to come.
Sienna Miller is on the verge of achieving similar status. She displayed Oscar caliber talent in “Factory Girl” and “Interview”. And I am not sure that anyone, man or woman, has as diverse a range of characters in movies over the past 5 years.
These two firecrackers are pitch perfect in “The Edge of Love”. They balance frailty and gentle loyalty with passion and fierce competitiveness. Each of their roles is immensely tricky — and both handle the tasks with ease. It wouldn’t surprise me if they are both showered with awards when the trophy season rolls around.
You will know if this is your type of film before you buy the ticket. I love these intricate dramas when shot as gorgeously and written as intelligently as this. Throw in some major performances and the two most beautiful women on the planet — What’s not to love?