Obsessed since early childhood by the Earth’s poles and the stories of the adventurers who first reached them, Peter (Vincent Kartheiser of Mad Men fame), an aspiring writer, jumps at the opportunity to travel on a month-long expedition aboard a research vessel to Antarctica with biologist Roger Payne (portraying himself), who first recorded the song of the humpback whale.
Peter’s wife, Chloe (Olivia Thirlby), is willing to make a honeymoon of it. But as is true of any serious expedition, the journey of discovery proves to be less about the destination than the baggage the travelers have brought with them. In producer-director Scott Cohen’s portrayal of a young couple’s struggle in the early weeks of their marriage to understand what they really mean to each other, the setting — pointedly not a cruise ship, on restless seas and bound for forbidding shores — is more than an exotic backdrop to a personal drama. The turbulent ocean becomes a metaphor for the couple’s difficulty becoming grounded.