The Abyss ★★★½

James Cameron's least-loved and most earnest film! Cut to pieces for theatrical audiences, the theatrical cut not only omits key plot elements that leave the end of the film a bewildering mess, but it also cuts out the most earnest and heartfelt portions of Cameron's film. The restored special edition IS cheesy and didactic to the point of being embarrassing, it's true. But it also wears its heart on its sleeve in an endearing way that's hard to resist (and, also, the damn thing actually makes sense now). I feel like the edits made for the theatrical cut were as much for running time as they were an embarrassment at the earnestness of the message Cameron was trying to get across, in his awkward, explain-the-message-as-straightforward-as-possible kind of way. Both cuts are imperfect, but the special edition is imperfect in the best possible way, a film that's not embarrassed to care.

But man, Cameron and women, huh?