Running Time: 2 hours and 12 minutes
Directed By: Derek Cianfrance
To be loved by you allowed me to feel again.
In 1918 a post-World War 1 veteran, Tom Sherbourne, seeks the solitude of becoming a lighthouse keeper in Australia. Tom receives a 6-month contract to operate a lighthouse on an unpopulated island named Janus. Shortly before he begins his assignment, he meets Isabel Graysmark and they have in instant connection. While on leave, he is invited on a date by Isabel, who feels that she has known him her whole life. Since having a lady visit the island is against the rules, the two decide to get married. After two failed attempts at carrying a child to full term, the sadness combined with the isolation of the island begins to take its toll on Isabel. A miracle is born when a rowboat drifts ashore carrying an infant. Against Tom’s better judgment, he agrees to informally adopt the child, name her Lucy, and they raise her as their own. During a visit to the mainland, Tom discovers the consequences of their actions when he learns the story behind Lucy’s arrival and that she has a surviving parent. Torn between his love for Isabel and his strong moral compass, Tom takes matters into his own hands.
The Light Between the Oceans is a true beacon of light in this year’s movie line up. My thoughts are that this film encompasses all of the qualities of an Academy Award nomination. Derek Cianfrance, known for The Place Beyond the Pines and Blue Valentine, wrote the screenplay and directs this fine film by sailing full force from start to finish. In his adaptation of the best-selling novel by M.L. Stedman, he sets up the first half of the film with character development sprinkled with several feel good moments before taking a sharp turn into the stormy consequences of desperate but well intended people. Highlighting the story is the filming in the hauntingly beautiful and rare location of Tasmania, Australia which is accompanied by the equally impressive soundtrack by the well-known Alexandre Desplat. The perfectly timed zoom-ins capture the essence of the story by emphasizing the actors’ thoughts and emotions. The exquisite casting is truly the heartbeat and life force of the film. Oscar nominee Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs and 12 Years a Slave) and Oscar winning Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl) exude so much chemistry that they need to teach a class in it. In fact, Vikander has stepped out of her comfort zone by displaying a much wider range than I have grown accustomed to. The six weeks that Cianfrance directed them to spend together also resulted in an off screen romance. Add in Oscar winner Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener) and you have the perfect combination of on screen talent for a romantic drama that evokes a wide array of emotions that I shall not soon forget. I can’t stop thinking about how all of the aforementioned components affected me along with the strong theme of undying love, choices, and forgiveness. Drift on into the theater with a box of tissues to thoroughly enjoy this cinematic delivery.
– Movie Buffette
It has been a long time since I watched a film that has all the elements I desire in a potential “Best Picture” film. The Light Between the Oceans is a period piece that begins in 1918, at the end of World War 1 with our war hero and bachelor Tom Sherbourne, beautifully portrayed by Michael Fassbender, agreeing to be the caretaker of the lighthouse on Janus Island. The lighthouse is strategically located between two oceans off the coast of Australia and plays an important role in the trade industry. Alicia Vikander delivers a moving performance as Tom’s wife Isabel. I would not be surprised if her performance receives another Oscar nomination.
Director Cianfrance conveys what it is like to live in isolation with the sweeping landscapes and sounds of nature. I especially loved the musical score and sound editing of this film. Combined with the first-class acting, cinematography and screenplay, this film has my vote for an Academy Award nomination. I highly recommend this moving and well-made film.