The World to Come

 (1,345)1 h 44 min2021R
In this powerful 19th century romance set in the American Northeast, Abigail, a farmer's wife, and her new neighbor Tallie find themselves irrevocably drawn to each other. A grieving Abigail tends to her withdrawn husband Dyer as free spirit Tallie bristles at the jealous control of her husband. Together, their intimacy begins to fill a void in each other's lives they never knew existed.
Mona Fastvold
Vanessa KirbyKatherine WaterstonChristopher Abbott
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Casey Affleck
Casey AffleckWhitaker LaderPamela KofflerDavid HinojosaMargarethe Baillou
Bleecker Street
R (Restricted)
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Prime Video (streaming online video)
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4.1 out of 5 stars

1345 global ratings

  1. 57% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 18% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 14% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 5% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 6% of reviews have 1 stars

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Top reviews from the United States

Amelia StuartReviewed in the United States on March 3, 2021
2.0 out of 5 stars
Watch this movie if you don't like being happy.
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I'm not sure why this film was made, and I'm not glad that I had the displeasure of watching it. I am often intrigued by period romances, and expect there to be conflict and hardship. But this movie wasn't much more than a study in loss, and misery. It is interesting to think about the trials that our forefathers had to endure before modern life and privileges, but to make a film that is so utterly devoted to destroying the will of its protagonists and to slowly suck the joy out of its audience is not something I like to subscribe to. As a queer person, I hope that future filmmakers may understand the need for positive representation of gay life, and to not rely on the overdone storylines of oppression and death. I recommend reading Innocent Hearts by Radclyffe as a palette cleanser of a similar genre.
Movies obviously don't have a duty to be uplifting, or to tread lightly on difficult subjects, but I'm sick of seeing lesbian romances ending in death as though it were punishment for trying to be happy.
I do commend the excellent performances by the actors and crew.
52 people found this helpful
Denise Reviewed in the United States on March 5, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
Well-Acted, but the film missed an opportunity.
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While waiting for this film to be released in the U.S., I took the time to read the short story written by Jim Shepard and the bases for the film. Fortunately, this helped to lessen the blow at the end of the film. The ending is so typical of stories about female love relationships. Therefore, the ending is not an outcome that would be unexpected.

I do believe the screen writers and director missed an opportunity to address in some depth either the love story or the hardships of living during this period for both women and men. Instead, they chose to try to accomplish both themes which diluted any real focus and purpose of the film. Personally, I believe the story was intended to be more about Abigail and Tally and with that in mind so much more about their relationship could have been developed. As it is, you only get a glimpse into their love connection as well as the hardships of living in the mid-1800s.

The character Tally is very undeveloped. You really do not get a sense of who this woman is and/or what has brought her to this point in the story. We know more about Abigail and to some degree her mental state. However, we really are not given a sense of why these two women are attracted to each other and so welling to take the risk of being caught by Dyer or Finney. Where did they think this relationship could go? In some ways, the ending of the film was perhaps their only future.

This film will attract a large percentage of the lesbian community. I know I was looking forward to this film as mainstream female love stories are not all that numerous. Unfortunately, the film will be a heart-breaking love story with a typical ending. But with that said, I in many ways loved the film. The acting alone made it worth watching. I just wished the film had taken more time to show the love affair between the two women in more depth. For example, we get only a quick glimpse of their passionate love connection the women had. During these scenes with limited dialog, we could have gotten a better sense of what they were feeling and thinking. Instead, with so little or no dialog between the two, you might get the idea it was the sex they were more interested in. In most lesbian relationships, the depth of feeling goes so much further than just a sexual act.

So, overall, I recommend the film. Even though, I was disappointed in the direction the film went, I felt the acting (particularly Waterson and Kirby) was great. The women had great chemistry, and this made the film even more appealing to me. It is just too bad the passionate side of their connection was not given more time in the story.

One last note, the trailer for this film indicates that the women have a love affair so anyone who is offended by this idea might think twice about watching this film and even more actually writing a bad review that makes this part of why they did not like the film.
20 people found this helpful
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United States on March 6, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Beautiful, tragic, rings true
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I went in without particular expectations, because I'm a sucker for literally any lesbian historical drama, and was pleasantly surprised with everything - acting, script, cinematography. Like Abigail (the narrator) the film is quietly observant and understated, which is deeply refreshing for an American movie! The result is something that feels historically true and doesn't get some schlocky, moralizing Hollywood treatment. I'm sure part of the reason for this is that Jim Shepard, author of the original short story, also co-wrote the screenplay. Hooray for authors adapting their own work!

What struck me most was the film's humanizing of historical tribulations, like diphtheria epidemics (a horrific child-killer usually consigned to the dry pages of archival death registers and medicinal texts), the bleakness and isolation of farm life, and more than anything the historical enslavement of women through marriage. A bleak but probably pretty accurate portrayal, balanced by a thoughtful and beautiful script and great delivery and chemistry by the charismatic leads.
16 people found this helpful
KAReviewed in the United States on March 13, 2021
2.0 out of 5 stars
Typical lesbian film disappointment
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I only gave this movie two stars instead of one because at least it’s contributing to the growing amount of queer content available in the world.

If you like movies where a lesbian dies at the end and then the surviving lesbian lives unhappily ever after and trapped in a fantasy-land where she pretends and hallucinates that her husband is her late (murdered, specifically) lesbian lover, then this is the movie pick for you.

Obviously written by a man, as referenced by the entire plot and ending of the movie itself, and confirmed by a quick Google search 🙄🙄🙄 disappointed that I can’t get these two hours of my life back.
15 people found this helpful
skywatcherReviewed in the United States on March 7, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Beautiful period piece and intense chemistry/performances
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This is an absolutely stunning film I saw last night. Shot in Romania and directed by Norwegian director Mona Fastvold.
Vanessa Kirby (The Crown, Pieces of a Woman, also excellent and for which she may receive an Oscar nom on March 15), and countless critically acclaimed stage performances), and Katherine Waterston (Michael Clayton, Inherent Vice, and many others) deliver powerfully courageous performances and intense chemistry that are rarely seen on screen and released theatrically for all movie fans, but LGBTQ community in particular. Studios have come a long way in telling our stories with dignity and not marred by stereotypes, but we have a long way to go. This film is very authentic, and the lyrical and poetic diary and letters cement a beautiful relationship, and script. Great performances by the supporting cast and sweeping views to boot. Another step in a positive direction for LGBTQ films and for the film industry as a whole.
8 people found this helpful
GSRReviewed in the United States on March 28, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
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Tired of the whiners who want a 21st-century film with a different ending. Women did live like this--and they did (and do) wring every last drop of what life has given them. Which is the point of the story--making a way even when there seems not to be one. Beautifully written, acted, narrated.
9 people found this helpful
ChazReviewed in the United States on March 4, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Worth the watch
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This is a quiet slow-moving film but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Be warned it is bleak and does not have a happy ending but even so there was something hopeful about the ending as well. The cinematography is beautiful and the chemistry between the lead actresses was delicate but palpable. The subtle touches, glances, and development of their connection was a joy to watch. If I have one criticism it is that I wanted to see Katherine Waterston and Vanessa Kirby on screen more together. They made the movie.
8 people found this helpful
eveReviewed in the United States on March 14, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Well made film!
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I didn’t know what to expect but this was actually very well made. It’s nuanced and smart. The music is moody and effective. The story telling and pacing really bring out the emotion. They’ve done a great job emphasizing certain parts with color and light. The story is heartbreaking and makes you feel more than you’d expect. It is a story with women who love women but it’s a story anyone who’s been lonely can appreciate.
7 people found this helpful
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