THE BOOK OF LOVE
Starring: Maisie Williams, Jason Sudeikis, and Jessica Biel
Directed by: William Purple
“The Book of Love” formerly “The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea,” premiered at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival and is now available on VOD (video on demand) starring Jason Sudeikis, Jessica Biel, and Maisie Williams. Directed by William Purple, the film addresses loss and the grieving process in a realistic and rather poignant way. Its message will resonate with anyone who has suffered a loss or tragedy in life—in other words, everyone will find the ability to relate to the subject.
Henry Herschel (Sudeikis) is an introverted, up-and-coming, young architect who tragically loses his carefree and loving pregnant wife, Penny (Biel), in a car accident. Upon honoring his promise to his deceased wife, Henry finds himself helping a streetwise teen, Millie (Williams) who is attempting to build a raft to sail across the Atlantic in search of her long-missing father. This father-daughter type of relationship between Henry and Millie delves deeply into how they each navigate the waves of emotional healing.
“The Book of Love” is steeped in reality. From the moment we meet Penny and Henry with their care-free and happy marital banter, the familiarity brings you back to an early time in a marriage. It’s a time when you look forward to the future together—smooth sailing. But just like real life, tragedy can strike at any time. Henry is truly crushed; swept away by the sea of uncertainty ahead. Within this tragedy, however, there is still a well-balanced element of humor—just like real life.
Set in Louisiana, the unusual surrounding seems to beautifully augment the depth of each character as does the soulful soundtrack. Williams’ portrayal of Millie as a rough and wise-beyond-her years street teen touches an emotional chord of sympathy within each of us. Although we may not relate to her situation, we do relate to her needs as a child and understand her reactions or walls that she has built to protect herself. Her ability to consistently portray a true Creole accent is questionable, but given the depth of her character, this is easily forgiven.
Sudeikis, known primarily for his comedic roles, shines in this dramatic endeavor. He creates a lost soul that is devastated, giving a range of emotions that swing like a pendulum allowing us to feel what he is feeling. In addition, there is an organic and natural interaction between he and Williams. They each peel away the layers of their true selves to find a new self. It’s simply beautiful.
Biel is a light and comforting sight as the expectant mother. Her whimsical ways are heartwarming and we immediately identify with her love of life. The comedic element is spearheaded by Paul Reiser as Henry’s boss with additional humor brought to us by the two workers, Pascal and Dumbass. The unintelligible Creole and his buddy’s interaction is exactly the levity that is needed in this film to give it a balanced feel.
You never know who will have an effect on your life or perhaps what effect you may have on others. “The Book of Love” reminds us that people come in and out of our lives for a reason. With profoundly eloquent narration, expressing the deepest thoughts in an almost poetic way, the film will captivate your spirit, mind, and perhaps most importantly, your heart.