The Light Between Oceans Review

“The Light Between Oceans” stars Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, and Rachel Weisz.  Directed by “Blue Valentine’s” Derek Cianfrance, “The Light Between Oceans” tells the story of a World War I veteran named Tom who takes a post as a lighthouse keeper, somewhere on the Australian coast.  During his post, he meets and falls in love with a woman named Isabel whom he eventually marries.  After two miscarriages and depression, Tom and Isabel remain secluded on the lighthouse island when one day they discover a boat containing a survivor that is a newborn.  They raise the child as their own, but actions always have consequences and love is greater than the light between oceans.

“The Light Between Oceans” is a phenomenal melodrama with terrific performances, a riveting story and amazing direction by Derek Cianfrance.  Cianfrance, who made the 2010 romance/break-up movie “Blue Valentine,” and the crime drama “Place Beyond the Pines,” directs this film with a keen eye for dramatic storytelling.  Cianfrance is able to get the best performances from his actors and the cinematography by Adam Arkapaw helps create this beautiful and touching piece of art.  “The Light Between Oceans” knows exactly what it is and is a sure contender for this year’s Oscar race.  The fall is kicking off with a great movie and will only get better.

As far as the film is concerned, this was such a sad, touching and loving film, the kind of drama that we so rarely see.  After all of the summer popcorn flicks and the drag of overabundance of superhero films, “The Light Between Oceans” is a relief and welcome.  It’s nice to finally be back in the beginning of Oscar season when all of the smaller, story and performance driven films come out.  I feel like these real human drama stories are so little in abundance nowadays, so that when we get a good one it makes it all the more special.  One of my favorite films of last year was “Brooklyn,” because it felt so intimate, real and something that people can relate to.  The same goes for “The Light Between Oceans.”  This was such a real, emotional and satisfying film that I haven’t seen so far this year.

The performances by Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander are unmatched.  They had amazing chemistry here, and it is the sheer magnitude of talent displayed by both of these actors that really sold this movie.  I think Vikander and Fassbender are the two best working actors in Hollywood right now and I am rooting for these two to become recognized for their amazing achievement in “The Light Between Oceans.”  Derek Cianfrance did such an amazing job adapting this book into a film.  The direction was beautiful and artful while the story displayed a raw emotional beat that only Cianfrance can evoke from his actors.  Adam Arkapaw who shot Michael Fassbender in last year’s “Macbeth,” once again films “The Light Between Oceans.”  His sense of lighting and amazing knack for nature helps give “The Light Between Oceans” its tone and mood.  This is a gorgeous film to look at and technically is such a sound film, full of human emotion.

The only gripe that I saw here, was some of the editing.  There were parts throughout the film that dragged on a little too long.  I think the editing could have been a little more compact and tighter, with some scenes being cut that didn’t really serve any purpose to the story line.  “The Light Between Oceans” felt a little tedious at times and once in a while the story seemed a little off focus.  But overall, this was a fine example of a great movie that isn’t perfect and I think the slow pace in moments shows that even great movies sometimes have issues.  What I will say is that this movie could have been really cheesy.  It could have gone down that Nicholas Sparks route, but it doesn’t.  In fact, it is far from it, even though it did have those moments and cliches that we expect from melodrama.

I really loved “The Light Between Oceans.”  I thought that this film is one of the best and emotional stories that I have seen so far this year in 2016.  It’s not a perfect film by any means, but I think it’s such a delight in that it relates a very human tale about life, loss and love that are a part of the human condition.  It provokes us to ask questions on mortality, parenthood and how far we would go to save our children.  The amazing direction by Derek Cianfrance, the cinematography and the fantastic performances by Fassbender and Vikander don’t go unnoticed.  “The Light Between Oceans” is a solid crowd-pleaser and a riveting tale of romance.  “The Light Between Oceans” will definitely sweep you off of your feet this fall.

Grade:  A+ 

One thought on “The Light Between Oceans Review

  • September 6, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    I read the book and didn’t like it well enough to see the movie, but maybe now I will! Are you going to review “Little Men”, Matt? I liked it, but thought it fell short of its hype. Or maybe I’ve gotten so I prefer movies that aren’t so true to life!


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