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The Light Between Oceans (2016)

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A lighthouse keeper and his wife living off the coast of Western Australia raise a baby they rescue from a drifting rowing boat.


Derek Cianfrance


Derek Cianfrance (written for the screen by), M.L. Stedman (novel)
1,443 ( 550)

Alicia Vikander Through the Years

Take a look back at the career of Alicia Vikander on and off the big screen.

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1 win & 11 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Fassbender ... Tom Sherbourne
Alicia Vikander ... Isabel Graysmark
Rachel Weisz ... Hannah Roennfeldt
Florence Clery Florence Clery ... Lucy-Grace
Jack Thompson ... Ralph Addicott
Thomas Unger ... Bluey Smart
Jane Menelaus Jane Menelaus ... Violet Graysmark
Garry McDonald Garry McDonald ... Bill Graysmark
Anthony Hayes ... Sergeant Vernon Knuckey
Benedict Hardie ... Constable Harry Garstone
Emily Barclay ... Gwen Potts
Bryan Brown ... Septimus Potts
Stephen Ure ... Neville Whittnish
Peter McCauley Peter McCauley ... Sergeant Spragg
Leon Ford ... Frank Roennfeldt


A war weary man takes a job as a lighthouse keeper on an island for the solitude. He meets a beautiful young woman and they eventually marry. One day they see a small dingy with an infant and man inside floating in the ocean. They rush to rescue them only to find the man is dead. They struggle over the decision to report it and whether to keep the baby. It's only years later that they discover that the child still has a mother looking for her. Written by indialm

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Love demands everything See more »


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic material and some sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



UK | New Zealand | USA



Release Date:

2 September 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La luz entre los océanos See more »

Filming Locations:

Stanley, Tasmania, Australia See more »


Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,765,838, 2 September 2016

Gross USA:

$12,545,979, 3 November 2016

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$25,905,264, 3 November 2016
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Touchstone Pictures' last film. See more »


Throughout the film, the west coast town of Albany, Australia is incorrectly referred to as "ALL-bany" instead of "AL-bany." See more »


[first lines]
Tom Sherbourne: I'm just looking to get away from things for a little while.
Mr. Coughlan: [sitting behind his desk] Well, it's no paradise out on that island. Just want to make sure you know what you're in for.
Tom Sherbourne: All due respect, Mr. Coughlan, it's not likely to be tougher than the Western Front.
Mr. Coughlan: Oh, you're probably right about that. You pay your own passage to every posting. You're a relief worker so you don't get holidays. I understand you're a single man. No family. So, that's a slight concern. Wouldn't ...
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User Reviews

It's hot and even has Moses.
6 September 2016 | by jdesandoSee all my reviews

"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!

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