Directed by: Celyn Jones & Tom Stern
Distributed by: IFC Films
Written by Jeff Sparks
In “The Almond and the Seahorse,” two separate diagnoses of anterograde amnesia turn the lives of two women into a kaleidoscope as they struggle with parallel conflicts. Charlotte Gainsbourg and Trine Dyrholm star as Toni and Gwen. After fifteen years of helping Gwen remember who she is every morning, Toni is tired and fears she has to forget about Gwen and move on with her life. Meanwhile, Rebel Wilson plays Sarah, a woman who struggles with the same ultimatum as Toni when her husband’s memories begin to erase themselves from his mind. Unlike Gainsbourg, Rebel Wilson is a newcomer to drama so it was a surprise to see her in this role. After years of comedies, the big question here is ‘can she do drama?” I don’t have an answer for that in this review because I don’t think that the writing in this film gave her a fair shot. For dealing with such serious subject matter the writing was very artificial operating only at the surface level without nuance. Character’s often say exactly what they’re feeling. As for Gainsbourg, she gives the best performance in the film but is constantly dragged down by the writing.
Despite the shallow dialogue, the film succeeds in showing the contrasting parallels between the characters’ lives. When Sarah feels that her husband is pulling away from her, the film cuts to Toni who is doing the opposite with her wife. This repetition eventually sees the two leads meet in a segment towards the end that gives an expansion to the struggles of the two characters but doesn’t dig any deeper into them than what we’ve already seen. Despite that I’ve never seen a film about this particular illness, the simplistic approach to the struggles of each character and the basic direction make “The Almond and the Seahorse” insubstantial in the grand scope of indie dramas. Ten or twenty years ago this may have been a film that garnered attraction, but that’s just not going to cut in 2022 when lower-budget films often surpass Hollywood productions in every category of filmmaking and the only category this film might surpass other films in is its cast.
“The Almond and the Seahorse” Trailer