Movie #258 2020: The Deep End of the Ocean (1999)

Had I ever heard of this movie before watching it? No. Why did I watch it? Michelle Pfeiffer. Do you need any other reason to watch a movie? No. So that’s that on that.

The Deep End of the Ocean is your typical nineties family drama with some dark twists and turns. Based on a best-selling book, a strong, determined mother named Beth (Pfeiffer) disastrously loses her son in a busy hotel during her high school reunion. When he goes missing without a trace, she recruits the local detective (Whoopi Goldberg) to help find him to no avail. Nine years later, the family have relocated to another town, and lo and behold, their long lost son turns up on their doorstep. Beth undertakes a further investigation into what happened to him all those years ago, and embarks on a quest to find out exactly where he’d been the whole time.

Firstly, as previously alluded to, my girlfriend chose this film because neither of us had ever heard of it despite both of us being fans of the Pfeiffer. It was actually quite refreshing to go into a movie without a single pre-conceived idea of it, and it’s something we all need to do it more often! In a world where we are constantly bombarded by opinion, it’s really nice to be able to form one’s own, whether that opinion be positive or not.

It’s weird that the script and the direction in The Deep End of the Ocean has Michelle Pfeiffer’s character being so calm about the situation at hand, but she does well regardless even if the direction is extremely unlikely and confusing. On top of that, Whoopi’s character is aptly quirky, badass, and wears a pantsuit perfectly, leaving the viewer wishing she’d do more stuff like this in present day. The story itself is… I meeeeean, it’s a little slow and dated in parts. But the stars have enough on-screen charisma to hold up the sometimes poorly paced plot. 

The most striking thing about this movie is how bad its title is. Even whilst writing this post, I keep forgetting what this damn movie is called. My girlfriend, who is sitting next to me, also can’t remember the title. In fact, I just questioned her about it and this was her exact response:

The Other End of the Ocean? No… The Ocean at the End of the Lane. What about… is it called… The Deep End of the Blue Sea? That’s what it’s called isn’t it? I remember the deep end… I don’t actually know anymore.”

The confusion is quite clearly real.

Quickly summarised, the award for ‘Worst Movie Title of All Time’ goes to this guy. I understand that this was the book’s title, and I’d go so far to assume that the title makes sense in that context, but good grief, they needed to go with literally anything else for the adaptation.

Were it not for MP, this would have “straight to video” written all over it. The mid-section is super dragged out and tedious, and I read that the ending was originally meant to be a little more dire and sinister. Sadly, it might have felt more worth the 2 hours of my life that I gave to this movie if the conclusion had been confined to its more substantial true ending, which Pfeiffer herself reportedly preferred.

Sometimes you should listen to your actors. And you should always listen to the Pfeiffer.

The Deep End of the Ocean is available to stream on Netflix in the UK.

TQR Category Ratings:

Costume & Set Design: 
Overall Enjoyability Rating: 

1 Comment

  1. Nice review, and I agree, you should always listen to the Pfeiffer. Like you I have issues with The Deep End of the Ocean. A film like this can either stir the heart or it can be utterly depressing. It’s a difficult balancing act. As a wannabe Pfeiffer completist I have sat through this one a couple of times. it always leaves me wanting more.

    Liked by 1 person

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