'Year by the Sea' Considers Self-Discovery through Marital Separation

By Terry, Josh | Deseret News (Salt Lake City), October 3, 2017 | Go to article overview

'Year by the Sea' Considers Self-Discovery through Marital Separation


Terry, Josh, Deseret News (Salt Lake City)


By Josh Terry

For the Deseret News

"YEAR BY THE SEA" - ??1/2 - Karen Allen, Yannick Bisson, S. Epatha Merkerson, Celia Imrie, Monique Gabriela Curnen; not rated; Jordan Commons, Legacy Crossing

Director Alexander Janko's "Year By the Sea" feels a little too much like a self-help book disguised as a movie.

The film, based on author Joan Anderson's book, tells the story of a woman who separates from her longtime husband on a quest to find herself. We meet Joan (Karen Allen) at her son's wedding reception, a happy occasion that is spoiled when she learns secondhand that her husband Robin (Michael Cristofer) has put their home up for sale. Things have been tough financially, but Joan is still angry that Robin made such a move without letting her know.

The lack of communication is one symptom of a marriage that has become strained over years of routine. Joan and Robin still love each other, but as Joan points out, it has been a long time since they had an adventure together. So when Joan fails to persuade Robin to have an adventure now, she decides to have an adventure by herself.

Joan rents a small cottage in Cape Cod, relocating north while Robin heads west to Kansas. The cottage is rudimentary at best - only the outdated cellphones betray a 21st-century setting - and Joan has to take a rowboat to even reach her new residence. There's a vague plan to write a book - bolstered by her publisher friend Liz (S. Epatha Merkerson) - but for the most part, Joan is going into her new circumstances with a blank itinerary.

Eager to dive into her new adventure, Joan begins engaging the locals, convincing a clam fisherman named Cahoon (Yannick Bisson) to take her out to see the sunbathing seals offshore, and later she picks up a job working at his market. …

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