The World to Come is a 2020 drama film directed by Mona Fastvold, from a screenplay by Ron Hansen and Jim Shepard, based upon Shepard’s story of the same name. It stars Katherine Waterston, Vanessa Kirby, Christopher Abbott and Casey Affleck, and follows two neighboring couples battling hardship and isolation in mid-19th century America.
It had its world premiere at the 77th Venice International Film Festival on September 6, 2020, where it won the Queer Lion award for best LGBTQ-themed film at the festival. It was released in a limited release on February 12, 2021, followed by video on demand on March 2, 2021, by Bleecker Street.
In 1856 in Schoharie County, Abigail and Dyer live an isolated life in the country working as farmers. They are both devastated by the recent loss of their young daughter Nellie.
A new similarly childless couple moves in beside them. Abigail is immediately entranced by Tallie, the wife, and the two women form a quick and deep friendship. Abigail confides to Tallie that her marriage with Dyer is based on practicality, not romance while Tallie reveals that her husband Finney can be quarrelsome and controlling.
For Abigail’s birthday Tallie buys her an atlas that she had longed for. When Tallie is returning home from the birthday visit she is caught in a storm that nearly kills her. Her husband takes her away to recuperate, and when she returns it is spring and Tallie resumes her visits to Abigail.
Eventually Tallie reveals to Abigail that she only dreams of being with her. Abigail feels similarly and the two kiss. They begin a sexual affair. Dyer, who has become increasingly emotional since their child’s death, is upset at the time that Abigail spends with Tallie. Tallie’s husband becomes similarly jealous at the hours she is spending away from him.
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