How Deep Is The Ocean
Aug 2, 2023
Olivia Fildes, Cris Cochrane, Simone Oula, Will Weatheritt, Adam Rowland
‘How Deep Is The Ocean’ is a film that understands truly what life is like when you’re in your twenties. The strange mixture of youth and growing older, of love and loneliness, and independence and struggle. All these things are illustrated as clearly as an oil painting in ‘How Deep Is The Ocean’, a magnificent canvas displaying the highs and lows of being a twenty something in a big city.
These feelings - especially that of loneliness - are only amplified when you move away from the comfort of home and into a big city. That is the experience of Eleanor (Olivia Fildes), who has just moved from the much maligned Adelaide to the ‘world’s most liveable city’ of Melbourne. Though the city ranks highly on the international liveability index, only Vienna and Copenhagen rank higher, its residents still suffer from the same issues that affect people across the world. Life for some is just as rubbish, with struggles to pay rent, find employment, and make friends commonplace. Eleanor isn’t the only person struggling to survive, meeting a whole host of figures suffering from the same or similar issues.
Her landlord Roy (Cris Cochrane) struggles with the pressures of alcoholism, and the regular woes of a standup comedian, while figures such as Zoe (Simone Oula), whom Eleanor meets at a job interview, and Matt (Will Weatheritt) come drifting in and out of her life with similar pressures and problems. Some people thrive, finding success and happiness, whilst others falter, and lose themselves to their demons in the process, succumbing to the city. Andrew Walsh’s camera follows Eleanor attentively, chronicling her misadventures through her time in Melbourne with a keen eye, as though personally well-aware of her struggles.
Indeed, ‘How Deep Is The Ocean’ comes across as a deeply personal film, from being fired from low-paid cafe jobs, to the pain of an unrequited, and wrong, love, Walsh imbues both his writing and direction with a passion that translates well to the screen, and helps us relate all the more to Eleanor’s experience. His screenplay too is clever in how it makes us care not just for Eleanor, but for the surrounding figures in her life. From the alcoholic Roy, to the wistful Matt and the competitive Zoe, despite their faults, which Walsh makes painfully evident, these are nonetheless sympathetic characters, ones whom we can relate to in little ways, just as we relate to Eleanor.
‘How Deep Is The Ocean’ is a question asked by those that succumb to such pressures of youth and wish to drown in order to escape. It’s something no doubt running through numerous characters minds, and no doubt through the minds of many people walking around cities all over the world today. Should it be so hard to survive your twenties? Does it ever get easier? Not really, there are figures out of their twenties but still in that flux, and still contemplating that question.
‘How Deep Is The Ocean’? Deep enough to drown, but also deep enough to see wonderful things and experience life completely differently, both spatially and temporally. That’s what living your twenties is like, and that’s why ‘How Deep Is The Ocean’ is a beautiful film.