Tom (Michael Fassbender) is a First World War veteran who mans a lighthouse off the coast of Australia with his wife Isabel (Alicia Vikander). After many miscarriages, her wish to be a mother is granted when a baby girl washes up on the beach. Tom thinks they should tell the police, but emotionally driven Isabel is set on keeping the girl and raising her as one of their own. Tragedy strikes when they meet the girl’s biological mother Hannah (Rachel Weisz) in the town on the mainland. Together, Tom and Isabel must make a choice that will change their lives forever.
Based on the novel by M.L. Stedman, The Light Between Oceans is certainly one worthy of your time and a must watch for fans of the period drama genre. Years after the keeper and his wife meet the real mother of the baby, they start to struggle with their own sense of morality. Should they continue with their charade or keep the child and lose her forever? The fear and anxiety that the this couple face really messes with your emotions, parents and non-parents alike.
I have to be honest. I’m a sucker for Michael Fassbender (Macbeth) and Alice Vikander (The Danish Girl) in roles. Vikander plays Isabel, a very sad individual and gives another excellent performance. Michael Fassbender plays a war veteran with a conscience. He’s a war survivor called Tom Sherbourne who is suffering from PTSD from his time in France. It’s 1918 and the memories he has from the war, watching all his comrades die is filling him up with guilt. Not because they died, but because he survived. This is a deeply broken character who is led along by his wife into to doing a “bad” thing so they could be happy.
This is a man who always followed his conscience no matter what, as we him say “she doesn’t belong to us, we can’t keep her” but ultimately they do. But we are only human and we often follow our hearts rather than our heads. This movie isn’t all picturesque sunsets and leisurely walks. There’s much conflict to be had. The once thought innocently angelic Isabel is quick to anger during her heated confrontation with Hannah (Weisz), but also with Tom (Fassbender) when they have their domestics. It’s very realistic with many shockingly horrifying moments.
The film’s cinematography is truly beautiful. It’s artistic and wonderful to look at. I didn’t want the film to end because I was dumbstruck by the landscapes of New Zealand (set in Australia) and how well cinematographer Adam Arkapaw had captured it. As the camera captures these sensational landscapes, Alexandre Desplat’s score takes you to the precipice of your soul. This is a love story set just after The Great War. It’s a slow burn, but what romantic period drama isn’t? This is a film made specifically for fans of the genre and I couldn’t be more delighted with the outcome. With excellent performances, breathtaking cinematography and a musical score to kill, The Light Between Oceans is an excellent period drama, even if it’s a little on the dark side.
Yes. A thousand times yes.