All is not well in the bleak 1800s world inhabited by The World To Come. Katherine Waterston’s Abigail, reeling from the loss of her child, is shiftless and lonely, with only her aloof husband and a journal to keep her company. Enter Vanessa Kirby’s Tallie, an easy, breezy gal that just blew into town and into Abigail’s world. Sparks fly, a clandestine romance begins, and then things go unfortunately south. No spoilers, but it’s not a shock that the love story doesn’t end well when you’re talking about two women with no real money, agency, or clout living in an isolated town on America’s rural frontier in the mid-19th century.
But what choices did women really have then, anyway? Sure, they “chose” their husbands, but did they, really? Could this really have ended well to begin with? The A.V. Club talked to Kirby and Waterston about their take on the pair’s covert affair, and on how the film casts a light on how far we’ve come—and how far we’ve still got to go.