The Light Between Oceans is a beautiful and truly moving story, just not one that translates well to film. There is plenty to say about this movie that is good, and I will cover that in the paragraphs below, but the structure of this movie coupled with the sheer amount of heart wrenching moments ended up deflating the stronger material.
The only reason this movie ended up on my radar was the amazing cast. Michael Fassbender plays Tom Sherbourne, a tortured soldier returning from the Great War looking for some solitude by taking a job as a lighthouse attendant. He falls in love with Isabella (Alicia Vikander), a local girl who is taken by how tortured Tom is and marries him. After several attempts to have a child, the couple spots a rowboat containing a baby girl and decides to raise the child on their own instead of reporting the incident. During the child’s christening, Tom learns that a local woman Hannah (Rachel Weisz) had lost her husband and little girl at sea and is grieving.
I have not been shy about my love for all three of these actors. Rachel Weisz, due to my obsession with The Mummy, was the first Hollywood crush I can remember and I have followed her work ever since. I have been a fan of Michael Fassbender ever since X-Men and Prometheus and Steve Jobs, which is one of my top movies. I first saw Alicia Vikander in Ex Machina last year and have been amazed with her incredible range since. All three of these actors are at the very top of my list for favorite actors of all time and they did not disappoint in this film. Fassbender has a way to wholly embody a character that makes you forget that you are watching a film and the emotion that Vikander portrays is just incredible. Bundle this up with the breathtaking scenes that Adam Arkapaw puts together and a moving score by Alexandre Desplat and this has all of the trappings of a great film.
The only problem, and this tends to happen with movies that are trying to cover a large period of time, is with structure and pacing. Unfortunately, at the end of two hours of this tale of love and very real loss you feel stretched so thin that there’s nothing left to feel. This movie covers a very real life story of loss and I don’t know a soul who wouldn’t have made the same decisions that this couple did but you can only be given so many heart wrenching moments before you become numb.
I did enjoy this movie and was really sucked into the story. The art of the film was amazing, the music was moving, and the performances of the main cast were outstanding. All this movie needed was a few tweaks setting up the couple and about thirty minutes cut from the movie. I know this is one of the stranger movies to show up as a review on our site but diversification in your entertainment is a very good thing. Whether you are a fan of the romance drama or not I think this is a movie you should check out.
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