<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Derek Cianfrance. Starring Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, Rachel Weisz, Bryan Brown, Jack Thompson, Gerald Bryan, Leon Ford
Running Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
The Light Between Oceans (a book adaptation) sinks into the depths of depression as it slowly drags you further down into its self-involved plot that tries to wring your heart of sentiment.
Who wouldn’t fall in love with Michael Fassbender at first sight? So can one really blame Alicia Vikander’s character Isabel for falling for Tom (Fassbender) the moment she spots him and then proceeding to tell her family that he’s asked her out on a picnic before he goes off to an island nearby to work alone at a lighthouse?
Very quickly she proposes to him so that she can be his wife on the solitary but picturesque isle called Janus. Unfortunately, their attempts at having a child fail twice. Romance turns into despondency. But the sea decides they should have their child (I was going to say how but this would ruin the surprise). Isabel sees this fortune as a sign and refuses to let Tom call the authorities on the mainland. And so begins Tom’s guilt as he soon finds out that their child has a real mother (Rachel Weisz) who is mourning her loss while they bathe in the glow of their ill-gotten gift.
The problem with The Light Between Oceans is that it’s almost arty in its look and feel. Pretty, no doubt, but oh so slow and sometimes ridiculous. Why on earth would Tom want the child’s real mother to find out about her? How would that end well? I guess there needed to be some drama. Both Fassbender and Vikander are great actors and they even fell in love on the sets of this film. But nothing can wash away the bleak feeling you get watching this movie with absolutely no joy in its love story or anguish in the tragedy.
They’ve captured the sensibilities of the time well though, and the stirring music with the shots of waves and windy landscapes portray the starkness of the times and the settings and emotions well.
If only they had given Rachel Weisz a bit more to do. If only they managed to make you feel for these characters.