The Light Between Oceans

The Light Between Oceans is a film for the literary sort. It’s poetically paced, languid in its development. It’s about a man (Michael Fassbender) who, having survived the war, is keen on some isolation and takes a job as a lighthouse keeper on a lonely island. He doesn’t count on falling in love, and is delighted to double the population of his rock when he takes a wife (Alicia Vikander). Now all they need is a baby and they’ll have a real population boom on their hands.

the-light-between-oceans-heroine-alicia-vikander-picturesBut wait. The babies aren’t coming so easily for this young couple. In fact, the only baby that comes is one that washes ashore, screaming in her dead father’s arms. It’s the lighthouse keeper’s duty to report orphaned baby to the mainland, no matter how much his distraught, infertile, grieving wife may want to keep her. Right?

The Light Between Oceans is beautifully shot by DP Adam Arkapaw; you’ll be sick of the postcard-perfect scenery by the end of the movie. We get it, it’s gorgeous. Fassbender and Vikander fit right in (once she shaves off his mustache anyway), pantomiming love so well they actually fell in love themselves, and are a couple to this day. They’re committed in their roles and aren’t to be blamed when this film ultimately falters.

What makes it stumble?  The pace may be a deterrent. While I was okay with the unhurried the-light-between-oceanspace, I worried that Sean was bored. Or asleep. He assured me he was neither, and I nearly believe him. Second, and hugely, is the contrived plot which forces the characters to behave rather stupidly. As much as you want to like them, and have liked them, you will grow frustrated. And emotional: director Derek Cianfrance is adamant that you cry. He will not be satisfied, or leave well enough alone, until you do.

18 thoughts on “The Light Between Oceans

  1. ruth

    My review of this is in my draft folder. I actually didn’t mind the melodrama so much as I was watching it, but I’m less keen on it the more I think about it.

    P.S. Jay/Sean, since you guys are going to TIFF, are you planning on seeing Free Fire? I’ll be living vicariously through you if you do!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tom

    Yeah, I couldn’t help but think this movie was pretty heavy-handed and this is pretty spot on for me too: “you’ll be sick of the postcard-perfect scenery by the end of the movie. We get it, it’s gorgeous.”

    How I ended up actually liking it? I don’t . . um, know.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Liz A.

    I have an issue with the plot point of the baby being washed ashore. I read about this movie in Entertainment Weekly, and I couldn’t get past that. Not sure why. I’m sure it won’t be a deal breaker for anyone but me.


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