THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS Movie Review by The Commander


3 (out of 4 stars) 

The decisions that we make, good or bad and the ramifications that follow along with the torment, is the foundation of this movie.


This is a powerful drama, taken from the book that deals with one man's obsession of doing what is right versus wrong, and the love and affection he has for his spouse.

After World War I, in December, 1918, a young soldier, Tom Sherbourne (Michael Fassbender) takes a job as the sole inhabitant of a lighthouse on the island of Janis.  After six months he is offered a three-year contract to remain at his post.  During that period, he meets the daughter of his employer, Isabel Graysmark (Alicia Vikander), who has taken a liking to him and she suggests that they get married.  After more months of isolation, he takes her up on her offer and they marry in a simple ceremony and return to live on the outpost.  After a few unsuccessful attempts of trying to conceive a baby (with losses due to miscarriages), they discover a rowboat that has drifted ashore;  the passengers being a deceased man and a baby.


While Ted believed that an inquiry with the mainland should be made about the baby, Isabel convinces him to let her keep and raise the baby as their own.  Reluctantly, Ted goes along with the plan in order to console Isabel from her miscarriages.  The two live happily for years raising Lucy-Grace (Florence Clery), until one day they return to the mainland and everything starts going astray.


This is a very powerful drama with wonderful performances by both Fassbender and Vikander.  However, the problem is with the story.  While this film is adapted from the novel, the writer-director Derek Cianfrance has difficulty in presenting the anguish of Tom in his decision to bring the truth of the child’s origins to light.  His love for his wife versus his guilt watching the anguish of Lucy’s actual mother, Hannah Roennfeldt (Rachael Weisz) is lightly brushed over, as to make this more palatable for the audience.  It left the incident feeling flat, as if something was missing from the story.  While there were numerous flashbacks to the dead father, it never seemed to strike a chord with the audience.  I felt that Cianfrance should have gone for broke, especially with the talent of his cast.  But he just seems to take the easy way out.


The cinematography is replete with stunning shots of open places, beautiful oceans, breathtaking views.  The acting is superb, the time period true to form and it is a wonderfully visual film.  This film is not designed for Millennials.  It’s for mature adult audiences.  I just wish the director would have the same trust in his audience as he did with his cast.  Don’t try to control us.  Let us just soak it in.

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