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Across The Ocean review: Story of two women from different continents having the same goal is heartwarming

/ 01hr 22min

Cinestaan Rating

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Keyur Seta

The film is shot by two filmmakers in different parts of the world without meeting each other. 

The Malayalam-English movie Across The Ocean has an interesting back story. It is a directorial collaboration between Uma Kumarapuram from India and Nicole Donadio from America. Of course, there is nothing new in two filmmakers from different countries collaborating to co-direct a film. 

But what makes Across The Ocean a rarest of the rare case is that Kumarapuram and Donadio didn’t meet each other during the making of the film, except for one day, long after the project went on floors. The film tells two parallel stories of two women from different continents. The two filmmakers met online and decided to co-direct the film with Kumarapuram shooting one story in her hometown in Kerala and Donadio in her home city Los Angeles. 

Across The Ocean is basically a combination of two simple stories about two women wanting to travel to a far-off land. Nila (Apoorva Bose), who stays in Kerala, works in an IT company. She regrets not taking up a training offer offered by her firm after knowing that the training will be taking place in the US, where she is eager to go. 

On the other hand, Holly (Anna Jaller) has a lucrative job and a loving boyfriend. But she is yearning to tour around the world, including India. One day, as luck would have it, Holly gets an even better offer from another company. More than a huge package, it is the chance of working in Kerala for three years that compels Holly to take up the offer. But her boss, boyfriend and parents aren’t sure about her decision. 

As far as solo trips by women is concerned, India saw a gem of a film few years back in the form of the Kangana Ranaut-starrer Queen (2014). 

But Across The Ocean is a travel film but at the same time it’s not about travelling in the real sense. Although the subject is very much about travel, both the stories are about the obstacles and conflicts the two women encounter in order to fulfil their wishes rather than their travelling experiences. 

The most interesting part about Across The Ocean is that both characters are not only hugely different as individuals but are also based in two vastly opposite cultures. Yet, you are fully convinced that they belong to the same story. 

This was possible because of a well-structured storyline and screenplay. But that’s not all. The film has various little moments that are interconnected, which play a big role in further convincing you that the two stories are unified. Hence, it doesn’t seem as if the two parts were shot by two people in different continents without meeting each other and this is the major achievement for Across The Ocean. 

After the screening of the film at the LIFFT India Filmotsav at Lonavala, Kumarapuram said that she and Donadio had planned these direction and editing techniques before the film went on floors. 

Kumarapuram and Donadio have also succeeded in extracting quality performances from both the lead actors. Bose appears exactly like a manipulative young girl, especially through her eyes and their movements. But she also has a certain degree of innocence which stops you from judging her. 

Jaller, who is the more simpler of the two, easily matches up to Bose. She portrays her need to travel and the indecisiveness that comes with it effortlessly. 

The runtime of 82 minutes might appear too short. But this only means that the director duo has stuck to their aim of only telling a simple human interest story of the struggle of the two women.

The only issue here is the part where Holly and her boyfriend breaking up just because she is set to live in India for three years. Their relationship didn’t have any other conflict, so they could have got married after three years by continuing to be in a long-distance relationship, which is quite common among modern couples. Thankfully, this doesn’t turn out to be a major damage to the film. 

Overall, Across The Ocean is not only an interesting experiment but also a moving tale of two women based in different parts of the world having the same goal. 

Across The Ocean was screened at the LIFFT India Filmotsav in Lonavla on 13 December 2019.


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