The Light Between Oceans is based on the book, by M.L. Stedman, which I read a while back and really liked, so I had high hopes for this movie – and with an all-star cast, the film did not disappoint.
Tom Sherbourne (Michael Fassbender) has accepted a job as a lighthouse keeper, for what starts out as a temporary assignment; soon, however, he signs a three-year contract. He meets Isabel (Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl) on the mainland one day and they eventually get married, as the only other person allowed to live on the lighthouse’s island is the keeper’s wife. They want to start a family together, and Isabel becomes pregnant on two separate occasions, but loses the baby each time.
When a small boat washes up on the shore of the island, with a dead man and an (alive) baby inside of it, it almost seems like fate; Isabel convinces Tom not to report the boat, and they decide to raise the baby, Lucy, as if she was their own. However, things get complicated when they meet the baby’s real mother, Hannah (Rachel Weisz), who thought that both her husband and child perished at sea.
Fassbender and Vikander are both fantastic in this film, as was Weisz, as Lucy’s real mother, who doesn’t yet know that Lucy is still alive. The film does move very slowly, but just when there’s a chance you may lose interest, one of these three puts forward an emotional performance that’s worth watching, and the film reels you back in (no pun intended). The cinematography was also very beautiful here – the movie takes place in Australia, and it was filmed in New Zealand and England.
Yes, see this movie. You don’t have to have read the book to enjoy the film, but I recommend reading the book anyways, as it was very good. It will be interesting to see if any of the three leads here get nominations for this movie – it’s not your typical “Oscar bait,” but I hope to see at least one of them get some recognition. Definitely bring some Kleenex for the end of the film, too (and ladies, wear waterproof mascara) – I was tearing up and I noticed most of the people in my row at the theater tearing up as well.
The Light Between Oceans is in theaters today, September 2nd, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 132 minutes. 4.5 stars out of 5.