Tell That to the Winter Sea Image

Tell That to the Winter Sea

By Bradley Gibson | June 21, 2024

In writer-director Jaclyn Bethany’s dramatic feature Tell That to the Winter Sea, co-written with star Greta Bellamacina, the lovely dancer Jo (Bellamacina) is having a high-brow bachelorette soirée a week before her wedding to a playwright. She’s invited her friends to her fiance’s aunt’s beautiful estate in the English countryside. One woman she’s not seen in years is Scarlet (Amber Anderson), who arrives looking incredibly uncomfortable. It quickly becomes apparent that Scarlet, a teacher, was and still is passionately in love with Jo. They met as dance students in their teenage years, and an intense friendship developed between them that sparked into a first love. These school days are the setting for time jumps between past and present as we see Jo and Scarlet both when they were younger and in the present day.

Jo behaves as though their teen romance was a rebellious, childish phase, while Scarlet is crazy in love and has seemingly never gotten past it.”

Jo behaves as though their teen romance was a rebellious, childish phase, while Scarlet is crazy in love and has seemingly never gotten past it. There is also an ugly-ducking story here. Jo was always elfin, slight, and elegant, while Scarlet was awkward and had to grow into her beauty. Jo is socially at ease and confident compared to Scarlet’s anxiety and introversion. The fact that Scarlet is still so profoundly affected gives Jo the upper hand, and it’s clear she has always had control of their relationship. Scarlet is an ordinary person, no less, but no more. She cannot compete with Jo’s supercharged, ethereal presence.

Faced with the imminent changes in Jo’s life, Scarlet seems incredibly anxious and ready to bolt at any moment but guts it out to see the weekend through, loathe to disrupt the festivities. There are intimate, but not overtly sexual, moments between the two as they share the house for a brief time. In time, Scarlet and Jo talk frankly about their teen love, and Scarlet relaxes and begins to smile at being once again inside the radiance of Jo’s orbit. However, there is self-delusion here. Scarlet does now what she’s always done: acknowledges the good and denies the bad. In flashbacks, we see that Jo was often ashamed to show how close they were to her friends. Scarlet was her secret. Scarlet must face this reality crashing in again as the other ladies join them in the country house.

Tell That to the Winter Sea (2024)

Directed: Jaclyn Bethany

Written: Jaclyn Bethany, Greta Bellamacina

Starring: Greta Bellamacina, Amber Anderson, Tamsin Egerton, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

Tell That to the Winter Sea Image

"…a soft-focus glimpse into the complications of relationships and the changes brought as time pulls us into new stages..."

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join our Film Threat Newsletter

Newsletter Icon