The Sea Change

Director: Michael Bray
Screenwriters: Michael Bray, Billy Hurman

Institute History

  • 1998 Sundance Film Festival


Amid the chic circles of London’s upwardly mobile, director Michael Bray has fashioned an old-world fable of love, transformation, and redemption with a modern veneer. A quick-witted fusion of charm and sentiment, The Sea Change is a bracingly spirited romance.

In work and life, Rupert is consumed by ambition and a ruthless “seize, desist, and exploit” modus operandi. Needless to say, he has achieved great professional heights but very few admirers. With all the material trappings of success, Rupert looks to cap off his yuppie package by marrying his girlfriend Alison. Anticipating another triumphant negotiation, he instructs his secretary to complete the necessary “skirt work” to seal the deal: purchase the ring, book the restaurant, and clear a forty-five-minute window in his schedule. To his astonishment, Alison rejects his proposal and threatens to leave altogether unless he changes his arrogant and passionless ways. Desperate to prove her wrong, Rupert races home from a meeting in Barcelona to attend her birthday dinner. However, when his flight is detained and fate lands him in the objectionable company of a working-class builder, Rupert must reevaluate his priorities.

With disarming sweetness and supple wit, Michael Bray builds a rich and touching portrait of a man wrestling to overcome his fear of failure. Underscored by refreshing simplicity, The Sea Change is a film to rekindle even the most jaded viewer’s faith in our capacity for change.

Michael Bray, Director
Michael Bray was born in London in 1961 and began his career as an assistant for an ITN news cameraman. At seventeen he won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where he trained as actor. His film career began with For Queen and Country for Working Title films. Bray also joined the National Theatre and directed and acted in various productions that toured the Far East. The Sea Change is his first feature film.

— Rebecca Yeldham

Screening Details

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