The Light Between Oceans: Film Review



I had wanted to see The Light Between Oceans for a while because I love Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander separately so I had to see their joint effort, especially as this is where their romance began. Their performances are brilliant, as is their chemistry, but the film as a whole is a very heavy, emotionally intense slog.

Fassbender plays Tom, an ex-serviceman who is looking for work and solitude following the First World War so he is hired to look after the lighthouse on the remote island of Janus Rock in western Australia. He meets Isabel  (Vikander) on the mainland before he ships out, they eventually marry and she moves onto the isolated island. They look forward to building a family but Isabel struggles to bring a child to term. Their problem seems to be solved when a boat washes up near shore with a dead man and a baby.

They choose to cover up the incident and pass the baby off as their own, but they realise the impact of their decision when they return to the mainland years later and discover Hannah (Rachel Weisz) who is grieving the loss of her husband and child, who disappeared at sea.

The couple faces such a moral dilemma and it really makes you think what you would do in that situation. Would you continue to raise Lucy as your own and leave Hannah in the dark? Or would you confess what you did and let her have her daughter back? It is tough and it does tug on the heartstrings. In fact, the film hits you emotionally many times, it’s like you’re being beaten with it and that takes the impact out of the truly heartbreaking moments, such as the epilogue, which was the first time tears came to my eyes.

The main three were amazing – Tom is stoic but you can see the weight of covering it up painted on his face, Isabel is so vulnerable and depressed and honestly Vikander spends the majority of the time crying, and Weisz’s Hannah has a brutal experience – she loses her child, gets her back and finds she’s doesn’t accept her as her mother. That was the saddest part – my heart leaped for Hannah more than the others because she did nothing wrong, whereas their actions had a massive impact on Hannah’s life. They are quite unlikable characters because of this but you can also understand why they made the decisions they did.

So the casting was perfect, the setting absolutely gorgeous and I was gripped about how the moral dilemma would unfold but it was a bit too melodramatic for me. The emotion is laid on very thick and I usually cry easily at films but I didn’t for the majority of it and I think it’s because it was used a tad too much. Sure, what they are going through is very sad but the truly, truly heartbreaking moments would have been way more effective if they had stood out emotionally, but they were kinda treated the same as the rest.

In cinemas 1st November

SEE ALSO: Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander at The Light Between Oceans press conference

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