Film Review: Strong Cast Turns on ‘The Light Between Oceans’

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CHICAGO – In the early 1970s, “Love Story” was all the rage, with its catchphrase “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” Just as sudsy, and with its own catchphrase, is “The Light Between the Oceans.” The film, set in the early 20th Century, salvages a by-the-numbers tale with fine performances.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

This is a love story, between a lighthouse keeper and his conveniently available young bride. It can be be categorized as a dignified soap opera, involving a baby and a surprising reveal. The high level actors Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander and Rachel Weisz deeply create characters that work, but the story has some issues in keeping up with them. The time setting of 1918 through the 1920s is perfectly handled, as a world resentfully deals with the loss of life and innocence after World War I. Director/screenplay adapter Derek Cianfrance (“The Place Beyond the Pines”) has been more succinct in his previous films, but still turns in a well-composed atmosphere, in a glorious Australian seaside setting.

Tom (Michael Fassbender) is a WWI veteran in 1918 with post-war trauma. He desires a change of venue, and accepts a temporary post at a solitary lighthouse. The six month duty is extended to three years, and Tom begins to court the lovely Isabel (Alicia Vikander), in the closest town to the outpost. They agree to marry, and start a remote life together while Tom tends the light.

Two miscarriages from Isabel strains their relationship, but the tide turns when a lifeboat washes ashore, with a dead man and a live infant. Isabel convinces Tom to keep the baby (as news of her second miscarriage wasn’t given to the mainland), and everyone assumes it’s their child. When the real mother shows up (Rachel Weisz), it tests Tom and Isabel’s love and survival.


”The Light Between Oceans” opens everywhere on September 2nd. Featuring Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, Rachel Weisz, Garry MacDonald and Bryan Brown. Screenplay adapted and directed by Derek Cianfrance. Rated “PG-13”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “The Light Between Oceans”

Light1
Isabel (Alicia Vikander) and Tom (Michael Fassbender) Get Connected in ‘The Light Between Oceans’
Photo credit: Walt Disney Studios

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “The Light Between Oceans”

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