Toronto 2019: Sea Fever

Siobhán (Hermione Corfield) in Sea Fever. Courtesy of TIFF.

Sea Fever offers viewers a genre hybrid but the film is more so on the thinking person’s level than being an action-packed adventure.

Siobhán (Hermoine Corfield) is a solitary marine biology student.  Because of her studies, she soon finds herself on a fishing trawler for a week.  She’s a student who generally feels more at home when she’s working in the lab.  Regardless of what her preferences may be, she is a redhead and this supposedly brings about bad luck.  As a result, the rest of the crew begins to fear her.  Sometime after departing the port, Gerard (Dougray Scott) and Freya (Connie Nielsen) are told not to travel into the “exclusion zone.”  If you’re a veteran movie goer, you already know what will happen next.  The crew finds themselves within the very exclusion zone they were warned about.

Almost as soon as they realize this, a mysterious creature has attached itself to the ship’s hull.  Is this creature dangerous?  Initially, it doesn’t look that way.  It’s not until later when we realize just how dangerous it really is when crew members start getting infected.  If you’re wondering why I don’t like going on cruises, look no further than this film.  That is, if Jaws didn’t already keep you out of the water.

Neasa Hardiman, who writes and directs Sea Fever, uses her script to serve as a metaphor for some larger issues.  One of which is the theme of need.  More specifically, one’s individual need verses that of the world.  There is also the theme of protection–this is where we should focus on Siobhán’s decisions.  She’s a scientist so she also coming at things from a different perspective.

This is a film that should remind viewers of last year’s Annihilation.  There are certainly some solid films in the Discovery program.  However, this may be the film that will get people talking.  Oh, you’ll definitely be talking as soon as it ends.  Let’s get it out of the way right now: Síobhán is not be the bad-ass heroine that Ripley was in Alien.  Don’t get me wrong because she is just as strong as any other female character.  She is still a heroine but not in the same way as Ripley.  I feel like the comparisons become inevitable whenever another genre hybrid film comes about.

Sea Fever certainly has the potential to be the next great genre hybrid classic.

CAST:  Hermoine Corfield, Ardalan Esmaili, Olwen Fouéré, Jack Hickey, Elie Bouakaze, with Dougray Scott and Connie Nielsen

Sea Fever holds its world premiere during the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival in the Discovery program. Grade: 4/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.