Waterland is a 1992 British mystery drama film directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal and starring Jeremy Irons, Sinéad Cusack, Ethan Hawke and John Heard. It is based on Graham Swift's 1983 novel of the same name.
|Directed by||Stephen Gyllenhaal|
|Produced by||Patrick Cassavetti|
|Written by||Graham Swift (novel)|
Peter Prince (screenplay)
|Music by||Carter Burwell|
|Edited by||Lesley Walker|
|Distributed by||Fine Line Features (US) PolyGram Filmed Entertainment (UK)|
|August 21, 1992 (UK)|
September 12, 1992 (TIFF)
October 30, 1992 (US)
The film moved the contemporary location from England to Pittsburgh and eliminated many of the extensive historical asides.
The film follows the story of an anguished English-born Pittsburgh high school teacher (Irons) in 1974 going through a reassessment of his life. His method is to narrate his life to his class and interweave three generations of his family's history. The film portrays the history teacher's narrative in the form of flashbacks to tell the story of a teenage boy and his mentally challenged older brother living in The Fens of England with their widowed father. In an opening scene the teacher's childless wife (Cusack) takes a child from a supermarket and believes it to be hers. The teacher explains to his class how he and his wife had a teenage romance which led to a disastrous abortion that left her infertile. The teacher is tortured by the guilt of this as well as the jealousy he demonstrated to his older brother when he suspected his girlfriend's child was his brother's. The girl's flirtation with the older brother sets off events that lead to the older boy's death by drowning. A side-theme is the teacher's grandfather, who was a successful brewer and who fathered with his daughter the narrator's older brother. The film ends with the teacher's dismissal from his school and a possible renewal of his relationship with his wife.