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You better take a box of Kleenex with you to the screening of #TheLightBetweenOceans because you're going to need it, trust me. Heartbreaking pretty much encapsulates the entirety of this film which from the start aims to drive its point home on an emotional level. Based on M.L. Stedman's best-selling novel, starring Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, Rachel Weisz, Bryan Brown, and Jack Thompson, adapted and directed by Derek Cianfrance, THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS is essentially about a lighthouse keeper and his wife living off the coast of Western Australia and they raise a baby they rescue from an adrift rowboat. But years later, the lighthouse keeper and his wife encounter the real mother of that baby. Should they go on with their lie and keep their child or do they tell the truth and risk losing her forever? I've never been a parent, so I don't know what it feels like, because I can only imagine that the fear or anxiety of the possibility of losing your child through any circumstance crosses the minds of every parent who wouldn't want such misfortune befalls them. In this case, it cuts even deeper because it's about miscarriage, to have that happen to a woman whose dream is to become a mother, it's the worst nightmare for her. In THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS, I think Alicia Vikander plays that with such strong conviction and ferocity, so much so that even though you know her character is doing something wrong, a part of you wants her to get away with this act, because Vikander has made you feel sorrowful for what her character has gone through. It's a remarkable performance for a woman who won Oscar for last year's "The Danish Girl," you see THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS and you'll immediately understand exactly why she deserves that statuette. And Michael Fassbender plays the lighthouse keeper husband with a conscience, the film does deal with fate, love, moral dilemmas, and how far you're willing to go to get your dreams realized after having previously seen them crushed a few times, what secrets would you keep to make those dreams realized and so Fassbender's moral compass keeps bugging him. Fassbender is so gentle and sturdy and calmed in this film. If you've seen director Derek Cianfrance's previous films, "Blue Valentine" and "The Place Beyond The Pines," you'd know that Cianfrance is not one to shy away from couples' confrontations, it's as if he wants his actors to really unleash their strongest resentment possible, so when conflict arises between Vikander's character and Fassbender's character or between Vikander and Rachel Weisz's character, it's so real and ugly that you wouldn't want to get in the middle of it otherwise they might come at you as well. The cinematography for this film is exquisite, such a beautifully designed, beautifully shot film, not to mention composer Alexandre Desplat's music, his emphasis on piano, that makes the emotional journey of these characters all the more deeply affecting. THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS guarantees to tug at the heartstrings. -- Rama's Screen --
When I read this on Wikidpedia I was amazed:
Critical Review The Light Between Oceans received mixed reviews from critics. On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 59%, based on 133 reviews, with an average rating of 6.2/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Light Between Oceans presents a well-acted and handsomely mounted adaptation of its bestselling source material, but ultimately tugs on the heartstrings too often to be effective."
This is a brilliantly acted film with some stunning scenery filmed in New Zealand. Both Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander put in two very strong performances, along with Rachel Weisz in a supporting role, and the film completely captures the period after the First World War. To me it seemed very much in the mode of 'The Piano' and equally as strong in terms of its dramatic dynamics and conflicts.
I saw this film with my wife who was equally impressed so I think it has an appeal for both a female and male audience. Definitely should be an Oscar contender and both actors deserve a gong for their performances.
For those who were fans of the book, it was a great adaptation. It was
slow, but that was certainly true to the book.
The acting was excellent, and I loved the cast. Fassbender and Weisz are always winners, of course - Vikander I have enjoyed in the three movies I've seen her in. She was great when she needed to be great in this movie - there were some very dramatic and poignant scenes, and she pulled them off.
I loved the cinematography especially the scenes filmed on the island the constant wind! That was something which was conveyed in the book, but it's hard to keep "constant ferocious screaming wind" in your head while reading, because it would be awful if it were mentioned every paragraph, yet it's easy to forget that crucial detail while reading the movie definitely conveyed that. Very atmospheric.
Yes, it was on the slow side - so don't watch it while drowsy, and you should be fine!
The Light Between Oceans starts Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander and Rachel Weisz. And its the story of a couple living in a lighthouse and in the ocean they find a baby. And that's all I am going to say since the trailer again ruined some important plot points of the film. This movie is very slow but is the kind of movie in which almost everything is on point and it never goes to a route in which derails the movie, I was pleasantly surprised! I loved this film! The cinematography is amazing with a lot of shots of the ocean and the wind, it was truly jaw-dropping. The acting was also great, Michael Fassbender as always gives a brilliant performance. But the actress who surprised me a lot is Alicia Vikander. She is fantastic as this lady who has lost a lot and has a lot of regret. She was truly Oscar-worthy. The story was great as it is not only about the relationship between Tom and Isabel, but it's also about guilt, sadness, loss, etc. The ending floured me, I absolutely loved it. The only issue I have is that Toms and Isabels relationship is a bit rushed and with no real sense of direction, and the beginning is kind-off slow but then it picks it right back up the next 5 minutes. I had a great time with this film and i would recommend it to everybody who wants to experience a heart-breaking story that is actually realistic and authentic.
In my review of "The Two Faces of January" I described it as a film
that "will be particularly enjoyed by older viewers who remember when
story and location were put far ahead of CGI-based special effects". In
watching this film I was again linking in my mind to that earlier
film... and that was before the lead character suddenly brought up the
two faces of Janus! For this is a good old-fashioned weepy melodrama:
leisurely, character based and guaranteed to give the tear ducts a good
old cleaning out.
It's 1918 and Michael Fassbender plays Tom Sherbourne, a damaged man seeking solitude and reflection after four years of hell in the trenches. As a short-term job he takes the post of lighthouse keeper on the isolated slab of rock called Janus - sat between two oceans (presumably as this is Western Australia, the Indian and the Southern Oceans). The isolation of the job previously sent his predecessor off his trolley.
En route to his workplace he is immediately attracted to headmaster's daughter Isabel (Alicia Vikander) who practically THROWS herself at Tom (the hussy), given that they only have snatches of a day at a time to be together during shore leave. Tom falls for her (as a hot blooded man, and with Vikander's performance, this is entirely believable!) and the two marry to retire to their 'fortress of solitude' together to raise a family and live happily ever after.... or not... For the path of true motherhood runs not smoothly for poor Isabel, and a baby in a drifting boat spells both joy and despair for the couple as the story unwinds.
(I'll stop my synopsis there, since I think the trailer - and other reviews I've read - give too much away).
While Fassbender again demonstrates what a mesmerising actor he is, the acting kudos in this one really goes again to Vikander, who pulls out all the stops in a role that demands fragility, naivety, resentment, anger and despair across its course. While I don't think the film in general will trouble the Oscars, this is a leading actress performance that I could well see nominated. In a supporting role, with less screen-time, is Rachel Weisz who again needs to demonstrate her acting stripes in a demanding role. (Also a shout-out to young Florence Clery who is wonderfully naturalistic as the 4 year old Lucy-Grace.) So this is a film with a stellar class, but it doesn't really all gel together satisfyingly into a stellar - or at least particularly memorable - movie. After a slow start, director Derek Cianfrance ("The Place Beyond the Pines") ladles on the melodrama interminably, and over a two hour running time the word overwrought comes to mind.
The script (also by Cianfrance, from the novel by M.L.Stedman) could have been tightened up, particularly in the first reel, and the audience given a bit more time to reflect and absorb in the second half.
The film is also curiously 'place-less'. I assumed this was somewhere off Ireland until someone suddenly starting singing "Waltzing Matilda" (badly) and random people started talking in Aussie accents: most strange.
Cinematography by Adam Arkapaw ("Macbeth") is also frustratingly inconsistent. The landscapes of the island, steam trains, sunsets and the multiple boatings in between is just beautiful (assisted by a delicate score by the great Alexandre Desplat which is well used) but get close up (and the camera does often get VERY close up) and a lack of 'steadicam' becomes infuriating, with faces dancing about the screen and - in one particular scene early on - wandering off on either side with the camera apparently unsure which one to follow! A memorable cinema experience only for Vikander's outstanding performance. Now where are those tissues...
(Agree? Disagree? Please visit bob-the-movie-man.com for the graphical version of the review and to comment. Thanks!)
Greetings again from the darkness. As the closing credits rolled, it
seemed incredulous that Kleenex was neither a sponsor or even mentioned
in the "special thanks". Surely a tissue company was behind such a
straightforward cinematic sob-fest (calling this a tear-jerker doesn't
do it justice).
Director Derek Cianfrance is accustomed to wallowing in movie sadness. His 2010 gem Blue Valentine was an expose into a fractured and challenging relationship. This time he tackles the M.L, Stedman novel and slows the pace to an excruciatingly slow crawl.
Michael Fassbender plays Tom, a tormented WWI veteran so intent on isolating himself from society and people that he accepts a job as the lighthouse keeper in some desolate area of Australia. The locals in the small town of Stanley in Tasmania welcome Tom and provide him a festive send-off. One of these locals is Isabel (Alicia Vikander) who, despite grieving for her brothers killed in the war, takes an instant liking to the handsome and mysterious Tom.
Soon enough Tom and Isabel are married and living a blissful life on the isolated rock. Emotional turmoil and tragedies follow as Isabel suffers numerous miscarriages. It's then that the movie takes a wild turn. Rather than a message in a bottle, Tom and Isabel find a baby in a boat. Yep, unable to bear their own, the sea delivers a baby to their ocean front home.
Tom can't help but notice that Isabel's depression instantly disappears as she cares for the baby, and in the blink of a misplaced eye, the three become a family. Of course, it wouldn't be much of a movie if the baby's birth mother wasn't discovered, so Rachel Weisz as Hannah brings her own tragic story and mourning to the façade of Tom and Isabel's make-believe happiness. What follows is a look at loyalty to spouse versus doing the right thing a dilemma that isn't as easy as it should be.
The lighthouse and surrounding coastline are extremely photogenic, as is the town and, of course, Fassbender and Vikander (both deliver excellent performances). It's also nice to see Aussie screen veterans Jack Thompson (Breaker Morant, 1980) and Bryan Brown (Cocktail), even in small roles. It's a purposefully sad and gut-wrenching movie that evidently moves so slowly to ensure the viewers have sufficient time to utilize those Kleenex.
The first film I watched from director Derek Cianfrance was Blue Valentine, which impressed me very much because it was able to transform a trite domestic drama into a devastating exploration of the factors contributing to the breaking off of a love between a very human and realistic couple. His following film, The Place Beyond the Pines, was also intense in its handling of the characters, but it didn't leave me completely satisfied due to some problems in the screenplay. And now, his most recent film, The Light Between Oceans, also challenges expectations by taking a typical "prestige" movie, and bringing it an emotional deepness which is rarely found in similar films aiming at attracting nominations and critical acclaim; you know... the kind of "period" films (such as The English Patient or Atonement) whose elegant costumes and British accents attempt to make them seem better than they are. The Light Between Oceans has a few cracks in its well structured screenplay, but the experience ended up being quite satisfactory. The story of The Light Between Oceans is superficially simple and not very original; however, the gradual accumulation of complications and moral dilemmas adds an intellectual and almost philosophical aspect which complements the tormented romance of the lonely man who found love late, only to see it in danger when certain circumstances interfere in his happiness. Michael Fassbender brings another one of his full of subtle details performances which almost eliminate the necessity of dialogues; he transmits absolutely everything we need to know about his character with his look and his expressions. As for Alicia Vikander, it was very pleasant to see her in a role which takes advantage of her big talent, after having recently seen her absolutely wasted in Jason Bourne. So, in conclusion, The Light Between Oceans could have polished some details in its screenplay better, but I found it a very competent romantic drama which definitely deserves a recommendation.
"She doesn't belong to us. We can't keep her." Tom (Michael Fassbender)
I was ready to witness a Nicholas Sparks imitator with The Light Between Oceans; rather I enjoyed a whiff of Thomas Hardy. A newly-married couple, Tom and Isabel (Alicia Vikander), living on a remote lighthouse island off the west coast of Australia in the second decade of the twentieth century, find a baby washed ashore in a rowboat. The tension comes not from storms at sea but the ramifications of their keeping the child a secret.
Notwithstanding the absurd good fortune that they find a baby after her two miscarriages, the story becomes increasingly complex with intersecting themes of passionate love and doing the right thing. Where this does not become a maudlin, sentimental romance is in a few realistic details. Most of us would question whether we would keep the child, given that we may never have one ourselves, just as this couple does.
Along the way, the accomplished acting throws a powerful cast over the proceedings so that as outrageously melodramatic as it may seem, the film relentlessly shows at each turn how conscience does indeed make cowards of us all. Just as what he has done preys on Tom's conscience, the needs of his wife to have a child overcome this otherwise beacon of upright manhood and good sense.
The end of WWI brings survivors like Tom an overpowering guilt that he survived while so many others didn't. With the presence of a child who belongs to someone else, he is tortured by thoughts of taking a loved one away as the war did for so many families.
Fassbender is the Oscar contender he was meant to be. His every facial muscle works to show immense joy at his marriage and deep sorrow at his crime. Vikander is equally convincing as a youthful bride with grit and joy who convinces her husband, sworn to save lives in the lighthouse, to endanger himself and her by his foolish act.
The cinematography is frequently gorgeous, and the romantic Andre Desplat music lovely but manipulative. While writer and director Derek Cianfrance navigates occasionally successfully through some choppy tear-jerking scenes (the close-ups of Vikander's tears are too many), it's still also a melodrama with too many fateful turns.
Besides, what handsome, sensitive war veteran would exile himself to a lighthouse? Only if he knew Alicia Vikander would join him!
Hardly a movie is so mesmerizing to me. Hardly a movie is so
engrossing, gripping and captivating for most cinema goers these days I
believe. The Light Between Oceans is one such movie! I did not expect
it to be so absorbing when I chose to watch it while having a day off.
I just thought it could be a bit boring as the story is based on a
faraway light house. But at the end I was glued in to my seat
spellbound by its infinite beauty and strength; quite pleasantly
captivated by the terrific acting of Alicia Vikander and Michael
Fassbender. Particularly Alicia truly lives in the character and
wouldn't let your mind roam anywhere else with her gripping acting. She
makes it so real and emotional that you feel that it's you who is
inside her character. I was just thinking how lucky we are that Alicia
came to this world to make us so fulfilled with her spellbinding
acting! One of the best scenes displayed with utmost acting talent was
the scene Tom agreeing to Isabel's plea to adopt the child, keeping the
incident a secret. The facial expressions and the body language of both
Tom and Isabella are so natural and intense in those few minutes, you
could be frozen to your seat! It's torturing your soul actually, but
that's the way a good character should be acted. Fassbender plays the
role equally well too, a character well displayed with his identical
razor sharp eye and intense facial expressions. He needs no extra
effort to play such a complex character as he is born with such
fascinating acting talents. Rachel Weiz does justice to her role well
but I believe her character belongs to a younger actress to match the
story. You get to see great cinematography by Arkapov in such beauty
that captures spellbinding New Zealand landscape at its best. It rhymes
well with the melancholic music by Desplat. Last but not least I had
never watched a movie by Derek Cianfrance before but he simply has done
smart work by directing this ingenious epic.
My only disappointment is towards the end of the movie, as the final scene building loses its momentum. When Tom is in remand the characters begin to lose cohesiveness a bit but it sinks further deep after he was sent to the jail. Within the next five or ten minutes Isabel passes away, Lucy is suddenly grown up and become a mother too. That hastiness really smashes the beautiful rhythm so well built up throughout the movie.
All in all it's an enthralling and engrossing cinematic experience that you will never regret watching!!
However, I wouldn't be surprised at all if this movie did not get ANY Oscars but a crap la la movie may win almost all the awards, because the whole academy has now become a weird place, and I do not care anymore either!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Start with award worthy performances. Outstanding cinematography.
Terrific score. This makes for a very good movie.
It suffers a bit from the written and directed by syndrome and is too long. There are too many instances where the hand of the director is just too obvious. The man and baby in a rowboat was perfectly timed after the two miscarriages. The unique rattle that had to be there and noticed to move the story. It seemed odd that the only time he had to tend the light the emergency occurred and they had no signal set up to communicate a problem. The little in bed death scene wasn't needed as he could have been sitting in the chair when the car drove up. The time jump was jolting.
Ignore the flaws and just go with the movie. It is a tearjerker with a big moral dilemma. It's a small movie that looks great on the big screen.
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