Till Human Voices Wake Us: Suzy Wood
Lisa Schwarzbaum
February 26, 2003 AT 05:00 AM EST

Till Human Voices Wake Us

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
101 minutes
Limited Release Date
02/21/03
performer
Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, Frank Gallacher, Brooke Harmon
director
Michael Petroni
distributor
Paramount Classics
author
Michael Petroni
genre
Sci-fi and Fantasy, Drama, Romance

We gave it a C-

There’s water, water everywhere — and strands of poetry clinging to the plot like slimy kelp — in the precious Australian supernatural romance Till Human Voices Wake Us by writer-director Michael Petroni. The three words that complete the phrase are ”and we drown,” which, as the class knows, is the final line of T.S. Eliot’s ”The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.”

Petroni takes the poem at face value, turning diaphanous literary imagery opaque and literal in the love song of Sam Franks (stone-faced Guy Pearce), a psychiatrist who returns to his childhood home, remembers a girl he once loved, and meets a mysterious woman who calls herself Ruby (distressed-looking Helena Bonham Carter). At one point Ruby is actually ”wreathed with seaweed red and brown” herself.

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