This film was previously reviewed in February 2021 as part of our Sundance Film Festival coverage.

“You don’t think there’s a cage that can work to our benefit?” ponders Abigail (Katherine Waterston), reflecting both on Shakespeare’s King Lear and the world outside the sheltered comfort of the woods, where she lies peacefully next to Tallie (Vanessa Kirby). Both women are farmer’s wives in a small community where isolation was the norm before they met one another; time that was once spent on the gruelling farming routine quickly becoming time enjoyed together as they moved further away from domestic life and deeper into their own shared chimaera. 

Beauty, in Abigail’s life, is feminine. It’s in her daughter’s sense of freedom as she runs joyfully through the farm; it’s in the farm itself, its soil nurturing and expanding life; it’s in the way Tallie’s tamed countenance is framed by her wild auburn hair. Yet, it is Abigail’s womanhood that shackles her to a life that can offer nothing more than contempt. “My life has surprised me by being way more ordinary”, she confesses, dwelling on the days where ambition still hasn’t yet been suffocated by reality.  

Abigail yearns for a world wider than the confinement of her existence, every penny saved employed towards an atlas, a metaphorical way out. Tallie, however, is a territory the woman can’t navigate, an accelerated Pangea as enticing as it is puzzling. The World to Come is at its best when it allows Abigail to explore this duality – even when experiencing joy, her body contracts, pulling away from what she can only see as utopic – a physically manifested warning of impending doom. 

A poetic examination of grief, The World to Come will undoubtedly pay the price for being yet another title added to an overly saturated genre. It fails to stand out, but in its lyricism lies something quite unique. 



CAST: Katherine Waterston, Vanessa Kirby, Christopher Abbott, Casey Affleck

DIRECTOR: Mona Fastvold

WRITERS: Ron Hansen, Jim Shepard

SYNOPSIS: Somewhere along the mid-19th century American East Coast frontier, two neighbouring couples battle hardship and isolation, witnessed by a splendid yet testing landscape, challenging them both physically and psychologically.