Somewhere in time.

There are two stories in the Weight of Water. The movie is an adaptation of the book by Anita Shreve. In the movie, we have two modern couples acting as the gateway to an older story taking place in 1873. The director chooses to interweave the stories very similar to the novel. However, the problem in the filmed version is that neither story is really tethered to the other and the modern plot line ends up being a very thin device.

In the modern story, we have Catherine McCormack, Sean Penn, Elizabeth Hurley, and Josh Lucas as the two couples. Rich (Lucas) and Thomas (Penn) are brothers. Jean (McCormack) is Thomas' wife. Adaline (Hurley) is the girlfriend/temptress of Rich. The two couples take a boat to the remote island where Jean is to photograph the place of the infamous murders in 1873. Their story should probably end here, but we see many scenes of Jean staring at Thomas who is staring at Adaline. The marital bonds are apparently straining, but I'm wasn't compelled to care.

Meanwhile, in the historic plot, we have Maren (Sarah Polley) doing her daily chores. Maren is the young bride of an older fisherman. They have fled to America in search of a better life. Maren lives almost completely alone (except for her dog). Her husband starts a stream of visitors to their island home. The first is a womanizing sailor with rheumatism. Then, her sister comes to live with her. Finally, her brother and new wife come to stay in the tiny house. The dynamics of the house change and Maren's reactions to those changes is the central plot in this portion of the movie. Disclosing too much would ruin the best part of the movie.

The idea of blending two timelines together is certainly not new. The Weight of Water doesn't create a new way to experience this means of telling a tale. The modern story doesn't have any teeth and the disruptive flashbacks do not help the historic plot.

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