The Sea aims to raise awareness of dementia and its impact on those living with it. Starring Anna Friel and Russell Tovey, this film has paired with Alzheimer’s Research UK, a charity that hopes to create a world free from the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia.
Set where the title suggests, the location for the short is a beach that we know is in England with the classic beach huts in their array of colours, but it could be anywhere in the world, really telling us from the start that anyone can be diagnosed with dementia, no matter who or where they are. I was really struck by the beach and how we flickered between new and what appeared to be old footage. This was such a clever idea, to show how memories were overlapping in a cinematic way, but also how people living with Alzheimer’s may see things. Even though this created a sad feeling that flowed throughout the film, the colours, bought in by colourist Colin J Hughes, helped to create a dreamlike feeling, reminding us that something like this doesn’t always have to be sad.
The story is simple, yet its delicate layers come together in such a way that keeps us interested yet understanding. Often, films portraying dementia and similar topics don’t quite hit the mark, or even start to go down the horror genre route, yet The Sea is thought provoking and graceful in its approach. With so much thought and care going into this film, we know that it is more than just that. Written and directed by Cameron Richards, we are given understanding, education and attention towards such an important charity and all they do to help so many people.
Starring Anna Friel as a woman retracing her history as she starts to lose understanding of her memories, she is passionate and aware, really creating a beautiful character. It can be difficult to show something like dementia on screen as I’ve said before, but Anna Friel really steps up and shows us how it should be handled. Russell Tovey stars opposite her as a father and son, really playing with the idea of memories getting muddled and how true to life this film is. His performance was loving and calming, really pulling us in, yet keeping us unsure like Anna’s character in his true identity until all is revealed.
I adored the visuals in this short and after watching it for a second time, I really can appreciate the idea of the birds and the horizon, with the bench separating it all. Peaceful yet heart-breaking, The Sea is a touching portrayal of dementia and how it can affect the person and the people around them. I’m sure that so many people seeing this will be able to resonate with the story and will be grateful in the way that the topics are approached so a light is bought brightly to the cause.