Separate Tables

Watch Separate Tables

  • TV-PG
  • 1983
  • 1 hr 52 min
  • 7.5  (212)

Separate Tables, a movie from 1983, tells the story of two seemingly separate couples living in a small, quiet hotel near the seaside in Bournemouth. However, as the movie progresses, we learn that the couples' lives are more intertwined than they appear. The movie is a beautifully crafted drama that deals with themes of love, betrayal, loneliness, and social prejudices that were relevant in the mid-twentieth century.

The first couple, Ann Shankland and John Malcolm, are played by Julie Christie and Alan Bates, respectively. Ann is an attractive, wealthy woman who is seeking a divorce from her abusive husband. John, on the other hand, is a writer who has recently been released from prison. The two had a brief affair before John's imprisonment, but now they appear to be distant and estranged from each other. However, as they continue to run into each other in the hotel, their feelings for each other slowly begin to resurface.

The second couple, Major David Angus Pollock and his ex-wife, Mrs. Sybil Railton-Bell, are played by Michael Gambon and Claire Bloom, respectively. Major Pollock is a proud, military man who enjoys flaunting his status and retelling his war stories to anyone who will listen. Mrs. Railton-Bell is a snobbish woman who is desperately trying to regain her social standing after a recent scandal. Despite being divorced for years, it becomes clear that there are still unresolved feelings between the two.

As the two couples navigate their complicated relationships, we are also introduced to a cast of supporting characters who add depth and complexity to the story. The hotel is run by Mr. Fowler, a kind and understanding man who seems to see through the façade of the hotel's residents. Patricia, who works at the hotel's restaurant, is a young girl who is desperate for the attention of anyone who will notice her. And finally, Mrs. Meacham, a nosy resident who enjoys gossiping about the guests, adds some humor to the otherwise somber tone of the movie.

Throughout the movie, we see each of the characters grappling with their own insecurities and fears. Ann must come to terms with her abusive past and decide whether or not to reconcile with John. Mr. Pollock and Mrs. Railton-Bell must confront their conflicting emotions about each other and their past. And Patricia is forced to confront the harsh realities of being a working-class woman in a society that values social status above all.

What makes Separate Tables so compelling is the way in which it examines these themes through the lens of social prejudices. Each of the characters is judged and scrutinized by the others based on their social standing, past mistakes, or current circumstances. For example, Ann is treated with disdain by the other guests because of her wealth and her failed marriage, while Mr. Pollock is respected solely because of his military background. The movie forces us to question our own biases and consider how they may affect our perceptions of those around us.

Overall, Separate Tables is a well-crafted drama that explores complex themes in a nuanced and thought-provoking way. The performances by Julie Christie, Alan Bates, and Claire Bloom are standout, and the supporting cast adds depth and complexity to the story. While the movie is set in the mid-twentieth century, the themes it explores are still relevant today, making it a timeless classic.

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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 52 min
  • IMDB Rating
    7.5  (212)