The Light Between Oceans (2016) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
161 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
A lie that tells a deeper truth
jay_daguy9 December 2016
If you are not addicted to entertainment motion picture and you prefer deeper meaning. This movie is in my point of view a must watch. Metascore rated this movie 60 whilst it should be 75 minimum. Watch and if I am wrong please tell me why.

Michael Fassbender just takes emotion to a very realistic place and portrays a man with fear , regrets , love. The decision he makes , as a man , we can relate to it. Alicia Vikander also takes you on a journey that helps you understand what being a parent mean and the sacrifices that comes along with it.

Rachel Weisz plays her role very well and together with the two main actors gives us some very emotional scene. I was touched by this movie and blow away by the acting.

Some beautiful shots are taken and really helps to get in the mood for something different , heartbreaking , questionable . The line between right and wrong can be difficult to see and this movie also decides not to give you what you expect. The narrative of the story is simple and yet very complicated once you try understand the reasons for certain decision. Without really realising you , as an audience you start to ask yourself , what would do , as a women , as a man.

Questions like this scares people unfortunately , but I think we should embrace those movies that challenges you emotionally. It is part of who we are.
52 out of 59 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A beautiful story about right and wrong, and everything in between
Gordon-1126 January 2017
This film tells the story of a married couple living in a remote lighthouse, who finds a drifting boat in the sea with a healthy baby and a dead man inside. They raise the baby as their own, but soon moral challenges arise and they find themselves at an important crossroad.

I'm impressed by how beautiful "The Light Between Oceans" is. The scenery is so beautiful that it makes me want to visit that place and feel its serenity. The pain of the couple and their reasons for making such a decision is well portrayed in the film, and I do feel for them for having live with the consequences of their wrongs. The story is really beautiful because it is a story of love, and paradoxically tells that sometimes the right thing to do may not be the right thing to do. It is so hard to determine what is right and what is wrong in this situation, thereby creating a conflict which keeps the film captivating. I'm deeply moved by both Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander's performances. The film haunts me after it finishes, and I'm still affected by it and ruminating about it.
40 out of 45 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
This is a beautifully shot and acted film
kinsmanivan21 November 2016
When I read this on Wikidpedia I was amazed:

Critical Review The Light Between Oceans received mixed reviews from critics. On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 59%, based on 133 reviews, with an average rating of 6.2/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Light Between Oceans presents a well-acted and handsomely mounted adaptation of its bestselling source material, but ultimately tugs on the heartstrings too often to be effective."

This is a brilliantly acted film with some stunning scenery filmed in New Zealand. Both Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander put in two very strong performances, along with Rachel Weisz in a supporting role, and the film completely captures the period after the First World War. To me it seemed very much in the mode of 'The Piano' and equally as strong in terms of its dramatic dynamics and conflicts.

I saw this film with my wife who was equally impressed so I think it has an appeal for both a female and male audience. Definitely should be an Oscar contender and both actors deserve a gong for their performances.
91 out of 111 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Great adaptation of the book
Mquinnjunkmail11 September 2016
For those who were fans of the book, it was a great adaptation. It was slow, but that was certainly true to the book.

The acting was excellent, and I loved the cast. Fassbender and Weisz are always winners, of course - Vikander I have enjoyed in the three movies I've seen her in. She was great when she needed to be great in this movie - there were some very dramatic and poignant scenes, and she pulled them off.

I loved the cinematography – especially the scenes filmed on the island – the constant wind! That was something which was conveyed in the book, but it's hard to keep "constant ferocious screaming wind" in your head while reading, because it would be awful if it were mentioned every paragraph, yet it's easy to forget that crucial detail while reading – the movie definitely conveyed that. Very atmospheric.

Yes, it was on the slow side - so don't watch it while drowsy, and you should be fine!
74 out of 90 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Heartbreaking Story with Magnificent Performances
claudio_carvalho29 May 2018
In December 1918, the traumatized military Tom Sherbourne (Michael Fassbender) is temporarily hired as lightkeeper to work alone for six months at a lighthouse at Janus Rock, Australia. He meets the joyful local girl Isabel Graysmark (Alicia Vikander) and they fall in love with each other. Soon they marry each other and Isabel moves to Janus Rock with Tom. Along the next years, Isabel has two miscarriages and while traumatized with her second loss, Tom rescues a rowboat on the shore with a dead man and a baby girl. When he is ready to report the incident, Isabel persuades Tom to keep the baby as if she were their child. The reluctant Tom has difficulties to agree, but keep the baby named Lisa. In Lisa´s baptism, Tom sees the local Hannah Roennfeldt (Rachel Weisz) praying at a grave and he learns that she is the real mother of Lisa. He writes an anonymous note to Hannah telling that her missing daughter is safe and sound. When Tom meets Hannah again four years late, he takes an attitude that will change the lives of many persons.

"The Light Between Oceans" is a beautiful film with a heartbreaking story and magnificent performances. It is easy to understand why Tom has difficulties to live a lie based on his rigid military principles but it is difficult to understand why the revelation four years after meeting Lisa´s real mother since he should be aware that his attitude would affect the lives of many people mainly Lisa and his wife. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "A Luz Entre Oceanos" ("The Light Between Oceans")
22 out of 25 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Tugs at your heartstrings
Ramascreen31 August 2016
You better take a box of Kleenex with you to the screening of #TheLightBetweenOceans because you're going to need it, trust me. Heartbreaking pretty much encapsulates the entirety of this film which from the start aims to drive its point home on an emotional level. Based on M.L. Stedman's best-selling novel, starring Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, Rachel Weisz, Bryan Brown, and Jack Thompson, adapted and directed by Derek Cianfrance, THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS is essentially about a lighthouse keeper and his wife living off the coast of Western Australia and they raise a baby they rescue from an adrift rowboat. But years later, the lighthouse keeper and his wife encounter the real mother of that baby. Should they go on with their lie and keep their child or do they tell the truth and risk losing her forever? I've never been a parent, so I don't know what it feels like, because I can only imagine that the fear or anxiety of the possibility of losing your child through any circumstance crosses the minds of every parent who wouldn't want such misfortune befalls them. In this case, it cuts even deeper because it's about miscarriage, to have that happen to a woman whose dream is to become a mother, it's the worst nightmare for her. In THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS, I think Alicia Vikander plays that with such strong conviction and ferocity, so much so that even though you know her character is doing something wrong, a part of you wants her to get away with this act, because Vikander has made you feel sorrowful for what her character has gone through. It's a remarkable performance for a woman who won Oscar for last year's "The Danish Girl," you see THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS and you'll immediately understand exactly why she deserves that statuette. And Michael Fassbender plays the lighthouse keeper husband with a conscience, the film does deal with fate, love, moral dilemmas, and how far you're willing to go to get your dreams realized after having previously seen them crushed a few times, what secrets would you keep to make those dreams realized and so Fassbender's moral compass keeps bugging him. Fassbender is so gentle and sturdy and calmed in this film. If you've seen director Derek Cianfrance's previous films, "Blue Valentine" and "The Place Beyond The Pines," you'd know that Cianfrance is not one to shy away from couples' confrontations, it's as if he wants his actors to really unleash their strongest resentment possible, so when conflict arises between Vikander's character and Fassbender's character or between Vikander and Rachel Weisz's character, it's so real and ugly that you wouldn't want to get in the middle of it otherwise they might come at you as well. The cinematography for this film is exquisite, such a beautifully designed, beautifully shot film, not to mention composer Alexandre Desplat's music, his emphasis on piano, that makes the emotional journey of these characters all the more deeply affecting. THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS guarantees to tug at the heartstrings. -- Rama's Screen --
77 out of 100 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The light that makes us spellbinding!
Lalpera30 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Hardly a movie is so mesmerizing to me. Hardly a movie is so gripping and captivating for most cinema goers these days I believe. The Light Between Oceans is one such movie! I did not expect it to be so absorbing when I chose to watch it while having a day off. I just thought it could be a bit boring as the story is based on a faraway light house. But at the end I was glued in to my seat spellbound by its infinite beauty and strength; quite pleasantly captivated by great acting of Alicia Vikander and Michael Fassbender. Particularly Alicia truly lives in the character and wouldn't let your mind roam anywhere else. She makes it so real and emotional that you feel that it's you who is inside her character. I was just thinking how lucky we are that Alicia came to this world to make us so fulfilled with her spellbinding acting! One of the best scenes displayed with utmost acting talent was the scene Tom agreeing to Isabel's plea to adopt the child, keeping the incident a secret. The facial expressions and the body language of both Tom and Isabella are so natural and intense in those few minutes, you could be frozen to your seat! Fassbender plays the role equally well too, a character well displayed with his identical razor sharp eye and intense facial expressions. He needs no extra effort to play such a complex character as he is born with such fascinating acting talents. Rachel Weiz does justice to her role well but I believe her character belongs to a younger actress to match the story. You get to see great cinematography by Arkapov in such beauty that captures spellbinding New Zealand landscape at its best. It rhymes well with the melancholic music by Desplat. Last but not least I had never watched a movie by Derek Cianfrance before but he simply has done smart work by directing this ingenious epic.

My only disappointment is towards the end of the movie, as the final scene building loses its momentum. When Tom is in remand the characters begin to lose cohesiveness a bit but it sinks further when Isabel passes away, Lucy is suddenly grown up and become a mother too, within the next five or ten minutes. That chaotic haste really smashes the beautiful rhythm so well built up throughout the movie. And the the age related make-up is totally hopeless as Tom still looks the same person even when Lucy is a mother and visits him after 25 years! However, all in all it's an engrossing cinematic experience that brings you the quality of film making and you will never regret watching such a great creation!!

It is so sad that great sublime creations like this movie didn't even get a a single nomination for Academy awards in 2016, while a synthetic junk crap raked almost all the awards. It shows what a deep stinky Hollywood political sinkhole the Academy has sunk in to now!
38 out of 48 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Amazing movie about relationship
christian-larson23 September 2016
The Light Between Oceans starts Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander and Rachel Weisz. And its the story of a couple living in a lighthouse and in the ocean they find a baby. And that's all I am going to say since the trailer again ruined some important plot points of the film. This movie is very slow but is the kind of movie in which almost everything is on point and it never goes to a route in which derails the movie, I was pleasantly surprised! I loved this film! The cinematography is amazing with a lot of shots of the ocean and the wind, it was truly jaw-dropping. The acting was also great, Michael Fassbender as always gives a brilliant performance. But the actress who surprised me a lot is Alicia Vikander. She is fantastic as this lady who has lost a lot and has a lot of regret. She was truly Oscar-worthy. The story was great as it is not only about the relationship between Tom and Isabel, but it's also about guilt, sadness, loss, etc. The ending floured me, I absolutely loved it. The only issue I have is that Toms and Isabels relationship is a bit rushed and with no real sense of direction, and the beginning is kind-off slow but then it picks it right back up the next 5 minutes. I had a great time with this film and i would recommend it to everybody who wants to experience a heart-breaking story that is actually realistic and authentic.
39 out of 52 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
It's hot and even has Moses.
jdesando6 September 2016
"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!
29 out of 42 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
"You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day"
bob-the-movie-man11 November 2016
In my review of "The Two Faces of January" I described it as a film that "will be particularly enjoyed by older viewers who remember when story and location were put far ahead of CGI-based special effects". In watching this film I was again linking in my mind to that earlier film... and that was before the lead character suddenly brought up the two faces of Janus! For this is a good old-fashioned weepy melodrama: leisurely, character based and guaranteed to give the tear ducts a good old cleaning out.

It's 1918 and Michael Fassbender plays Tom Sherbourne, a damaged man seeking solitude and reflection after four years of hell in the trenches. As a short-term job he takes the post of lighthouse keeper on the isolated slab of rock called Janus - sat between two oceans (presumably as this is Western Australia, the Indian and the Southern Oceans). The isolation of the job previously sent his predecessor off his trolley.

En route to his workplace he is immediately attracted to headmaster's daughter Isabel (Alicia Vikander) who practically THROWS herself at Tom (the hussy), given that they only have snatches of a day at a time to be together during shore leave. Tom falls for her (as a hot blooded man, and with Vikander's performance, this is entirely believable!) and the two marry to retire to their 'fortress of solitude' together to raise a family and live happily ever after.... or not... For the path of true motherhood runs not smoothly for poor Isabel, and a baby in a drifting boat spells both joy and despair for the couple as the story unwinds.

(I'll stop my synopsis there, since I think the trailer - and other reviews I've read - give too much away).

While Fassbender again demonstrates what a mesmerising actor he is, the acting kudos in this one really goes again to Vikander, who pulls out all the stops in a role that demands fragility, naivety, resentment, anger and despair across its course. While I don't think the film in general will trouble the Oscars, this is a leading actress performance that I could well see nominated. In a supporting role, with less screen-time, is Rachel Weisz who again needs to demonstrate her acting stripes in a demanding role. (Also a shout-out to young Florence Clery who is wonderfully naturalistic as the 4 year old Lucy-Grace.) So this is a film with a stellar class, but it doesn't really all gel together satisfyingly into a stellar - or at least particularly memorable - movie. After a slow start, director Derek Cianfrance ("The Place Beyond the Pines") ladles on the melodrama interminably, and over a two hour running time the word overwrought comes to mind.

The script (also by Cianfrance, from the novel by M.L.Stedman) could have been tightened up, particularly in the first reel, and the audience given a bit more time to reflect and absorb in the second half.

The film is also curiously 'place-less'. I assumed this was somewhere off Ireland until someone suddenly starting singing "Waltzing Matilda" (badly) and random people started talking in Aussie accents: most strange.

Cinematography by Adam Arkapaw ("Macbeth") is also frustratingly inconsistent. The landscapes of the island, steam trains, sunsets and the multiple boatings in between is just beautiful (assisted by a delicate score by the great Alexandre Desplat which is well used) but get close up (and the camera does often get VERY close up) and a lack of 'steadicam' becomes infuriating, with faces dancing about the screen and - in one particular scene early on - wandering off on either side with the camera apparently unsure which one to follow! A memorable cinema experience only for Vikander's outstanding performance. Now where are those tissues...

(Agree? Disagree? Please visit for the graphical version of the review and to comment. Thanks!)
29 out of 43 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The Light Between Oceans
Argemaluco26 September 2016
The first film I watched from director Derek Cianfrance was Blue Valentine, which impressed me very much because it was able to transform a trite domestic drama into a devastating exploration of the factors contributing to the breaking off of a love between a very human and realistic couple. His following film, The Place Beyond the Pines, was also intense in its handling of the characters, but it didn't leave me completely satisfied due to some problems in the screenplay. And now, his most recent film, The Light Between Oceans, also challenges expectations by taking a typical "prestige" movie, and bringing it an emotional deepness which is rarely found in similar films aiming at attracting nominations and critical acclaim; you know... the kind of "period" films (such as The English Patient or Atonement) whose elegant costumes and British accents attempt to make them seem better than they are. The Light Between Oceans has a few cracks in its well structured screenplay, but the experience ended up being quite satisfactory. The story of The Light Between Oceans is superficially simple and not very original; however, the gradual accumulation of complications and moral dilemmas adds an intellectual and almost philosophical aspect which complements the tormented romance of the lonely man who found love late, only to see it in danger when certain circumstances interfere in his happiness. Michael Fassbender brings another one of his full of subtle details performances which almost eliminate the necessity of dialogues; he transmits absolutely everything we need to know about his character with his look and his expressions. As for Alicia Vikander, it was very pleasant to see her in a role which takes advantage of her big talent, after having recently seen her absolutely wasted in Jason Bourne. So, in conclusion, The Light Between Oceans could have polished some details in its screenplay better, but I found it a very competent romantic drama which definitely deserves a recommendation.
28 out of 43 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Badly paced, unlikely characters, mechanical plot
neil-47616 May 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Tom Sherbourne, traumatised on the western front, takes a job as lighthouse keeper on an island off a remote part of the Australian coast. Local young woman Isabel marries him, joins him on his island, but has two miscarriages. Immediately after the second, a dinghy containing a dead man and a live baby washes up on the lighthouse island: Isabel persuades Tom not to report it and to pass off the baby as their own, so he buries the body. At the baby's christening back on the mainland he encounters the child's real mother and finds himself vastly conflicted.

I usually start by considering the things I liked about a film: here I have to start with what I didn't like and, what I disliked most was the story. There is an expression in British theatre called "plonking" - when the script introduces an element which is obviously solely for the purpose of justifying something which will happen later, it has been "plonked" down in front of the audience. This story is full of plonks. The lighthouse being on an island, the dinghy arriving at the same time as the second miscarriage, the baby's father being German, the mother being at the church at the same time as the christening, the rattle a) being seen by a visitor to the island and b) being small enough to fit in an envelope, her father being wealthy enough to fund a reward about the rattle - all these, and others, are clumsy mechanisms which exist only in order to fit the story together. The reasons for them existing are so obvious that the story appears gracelessly cobbled together rather than organically grown.

Added to which, the two main characters, their motivations and actions, are hugely improbable. It may be that the novel does a better job of filling in detail here, but it seems that (for instance) Isabel falls in love with Tom because he took her for a picnic and has an air of melancholy about him. Well, I suppose people have got married for less, but still... These two individuals are more story contrivance than characters.

The pacing is all wrong, too. Starting out as a romance, it turns out that it is no such thing: the first hour is all set-up for the actual drama of the second half, and could - and should - have been trimmed.

Turning to more positive aspects, Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander are both wonderful actors, and they do an exemplary job - better than the story deserves - of fleshing out these two cardboard cut-outs into living, breathing, halfway-credible people. Rachel Weisz is adequate as the mother.

The look of the film is good: the desolate beauty of the isolated lighthouse island is beautifully photographed, and the direction is broadly good, too, albeit the pacing issues can be laid at the feet of writer/director Derek Cianfrance.

The mature ladies in the audience who were there because they'd read the book all snuffled dutifully at the end of two hours of blatant emotional manipulation: I fear I remained resolutely unmoved.

Looking on the bright side, Fassbender and Vikander became an Item during the filming: think on that as your attention wanders.
6 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
If you have a heart you'll cry.
Quietb-17 September 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Start with award worthy performances. Outstanding cinematography. Terrific score. This makes for a very good movie.

It suffers a bit from the written and directed by syndrome and is too long. There are too many instances where the hand of the director is just too obvious. The man and baby in a rowboat was perfectly timed after the two miscarriages. The unique rattle that had to be there and noticed to move the story. It seemed odd that the only time he had to tend the light the emergency occurred and they had no signal set up to communicate a problem. The little in bed death scene wasn't needed as he could have been sitting in the chair when the car drove up. The time jump was jolting.

Ignore the flaws and just go with the movie. It is a tearjerker with a big moral dilemma. It's a small movie that looks great on the big screen.
10 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
I don't read books, I watch movies
f-rabit7 January 2017
I don't read books, I watch movies. The only books I read are Comics. Also I don't appreciate people that exhibits vulgar display of power like the ones that posts: "Uh! I prefere the book...oh! the book is much better...OH! you should read the book...Oh! i can read...and yes, I read books, I'm smart...I'm sofisticated". Saying that, I think this movie is great. Loved it. Fassbender is one of the best actors alive. Love all his work. The pace is alright, the cinematography not bad, the story is good. But the drama, the interpretations, the dilemmas, the moral issues, are much more intense than any other movie i saw during the last decade. I think that it's impossible not feel very strong emotions when watching the movie. Actually I think it's impossible not to cry. I only wish that the soundtrack would be more envolving and intense. I mean it's not bad, but there's no "Vangelis" or "Zimmer" material here. And this movie deserves an epic song. It's very very strong. It's very very intense. One of the best dramas I ever saw. And like i said if you don't cry, i find it weird.
28 out of 49 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Baby in a boat
ferguson-61 September 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Greetings again from the darkness. As the closing credits rolled, it seemed incredulous that Kleenex was neither a sponsor or even mentioned in the "special thanks". Surely a tissue company was behind such a straightforward cinematic sob-fest (calling this a tear-jerker doesn't do it justice).

Director Derek Cianfrance is accustomed to wallowing in movie sadness. His 2010 gem Blue Valentine was an expose into a fractured and challenging relationship. This time he tackles the M.L, Stedman novel and slows the pace to an excruciatingly slow crawl.

Michael Fassbender plays Tom, a tormented WWI veteran so intent on isolating himself from society and people that he accepts a job as the lighthouse keeper in some desolate area of Australia. The locals in the small town of Stanley in Tasmania welcome Tom and provide him a festive send-off. One of these locals is Isabel (Alicia Vikander) who, despite grieving for her brothers killed in the war, takes an instant liking to the handsome and mysterious Tom.

Soon enough Tom and Isabel are married and living a blissful life on the isolated rock. Emotional turmoil and tragedies follow as Isabel suffers numerous miscarriages. It's then that the movie takes a wild turn. Rather than a message in a bottle, Tom and Isabel find a baby in a boat. Yep, unable to bear their own, the sea delivers a baby to their ocean front home.

Tom can't help but notice that Isabel's depression instantly disappears as she cares for the baby, and in the blink of a misplaced eye, the three become a family. Of course, it wouldn't be much of a movie if the baby's birth mother wasn't discovered, so Rachel Weisz as Hannah brings her own tragic story and mourning to the façade of Tom and Isabel's make-believe happiness. What follows is a look at loyalty to spouse versus doing the right thing … a dilemma that isn't as easy as it should be.

The lighthouse and surrounding coastline are extremely photogenic, as is the town and, of course, Fassbender and Vikander (both deliver excellent performances). It's also nice to see Aussie screen veterans Jack Thompson (Breaker Morant, 1980) and Bryan Brown (Cocktail), even in small roles. It's a purposefully sad and gut-wrenching movie that evidently moves so slowly to ensure the viewers have sufficient time to utilize those Kleenex.
54 out of 103 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
ridiculously depressing and pointless
rowanuk24 December 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This film starts with much promise. A break from the norm, something potentially beautiful , artistic and moving. Unfortunately , the story line is absolutely ridiculous as the main characters go from having a lovely, happy life to a seriously depressing one with one idiotic move. i appreciate that guilt is what drives the decision to cause such upheaval , but why would anyone put their loved ones through such pain, and basically throw their lives away. Of course one can relate to the guilt the father feels, but this turn in the plot make the film highly depressing, like many other films out there The way in which the child goes from loathing her genetic mother to liking her is also a little hasty and unbelievable. the formative years are called so because they are so important in forming the bonds any child has.
17 out of 28 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Dull and Formulaic
sunraider3 September 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I decided to see this movie after reading a synopsis and review of the best-selling novel on which it's based. Unfortunately, what may work in a novel doesn't always translate well to screen, which seems to be the case here as this film was incredibly dull. Because the movie progresses chronologically, there's nothing that grabs you at the onset. It isn't until 45 minutes into the film that the main plot point is finally introduced. The movie opened with a dull, uninteresting scene of the main character being interviewed for a job as lighthouse keeper on a remote, desolate island, and ends pretty much the same way.

The director could have generated more interest if he'd opened with a more powerful and intriguing scene and used flashbacks to fill in some of the backstory. The real mother reading the letter telling her the baby is alive, the sailor keying in on the unique baby rattle, or even the wife discovering the dinghy while on a lonely walk along the beach all would have been more interesting ways to open this film. The first 45 minutes could have been cut and you really wouldn't have missed anything. Sadly, the wind-swept island is the most interesting character in this otherwise plodding movie.
21 out of 36 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
You Only Get One Chance to Forgive
ThomasDrufke2 September 2016
Derek Cianfrance, who directed the poignant Blue Valentine and the riveting The Place Beyond the Pines, brought probably the best out of Michael Fassbender and Rachel Weisz in quite some time, even if the film pulls at your heart strings a few too many times.

Amidst the beautiful landscaping shots of sunsets, beaches, and oceanic views, Cianfrance crafts the story of a couple who desperately want a child but can't have one, extremely well. As much as this film deals with tragedy, grief, and sorrow there was something so beautiful about the way Cianfrance tells the story. It unfortunately becomes flooded with sadness and difficult circumstances, but I never stopped rooting for these characters. Even when they are at the brink of a bad decision, I wanted the best.

That can be directly contributed to the terrific performances from the cast, and particularly Fassbender, Vikander, and Weisz. Fassbender brings so much power and gravitas to his roles, but I've never seen him so vulnerable. We saw a peek at the emotional weight he can bring to his characters in X-Men: Apocalypse last spring, but nothing can prepare you for his heartbreaking turn in this film.

Vikander and Weisz are just as good. All 3 characters have bad qualities and choices that could turn them into unlikable human beings, but Weisz and Vikander add a graceful human touch to their roles. Though Vikander doesn't have children in real life, I believed she could be a mother someday with her turn. Weisz on the other-hand is a mother, and that motherly instinct exudes onto the screen. Both performances are so mind-bendingly good.

One of the issues that's been brought up about this film is its over-reliance on pulling at your heart strings. It's a valid argument, especially considering all of the tragedy and horrible circumstances that occur. I can't really say it's a film I will revisit, but at the same time, I found Cianfrance's directing and the performances enough to get over the depressing nature of the film's plot. It's not an easy watch by any stretch of the imagination, but it's an important one for sure.

+Oscar worthy performances from all 3 leads

+Beautifully shot

+Cianfrance's style

-Manipulative at times

11 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Knowing yourself is the outcome
TheUniquePerception19 February 2018
What do we do when we encounter a situation where there is no definitive correct course of action? Do your own motivations overtake your moral compass? Most of us are fortunate enough never to be tested in this manner. Until we have each faced such challenging decisions it is impossible to know how we might react. There are no good guys or bad guys. No winners or losers. Just those left to deal with the outcome. I know this completely as I am one of the characters in this story. It is not a story for the faint of heart. If you are emotionally mature enough to withstand an in depth examination of your soul, then give this film a go. It will challenge you.
6 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
I don't even know...
acetaldehid25 September 2016
Warning: Spoilers
... where I should begin... First: I know the book so it was no news for me, what the story is about or how it ends. But. I've seen other movie adaptations from various books before where I was satisfied with the experience. Not this time.

I have the feeling that they just didn't know what to do with this otherwise really great story, so they decided to just simply telling it without adding anything to it.


(They write letters, they marry, lost babies, baby in a boat, happiness, guilt, they took the baby, pain, prison, death, joy. There you go. )


And this in 2 hours I mean... The characters are so badly written that it hurts. If you read the book, you'll have some sympathy for everyone in this story. Not in the movie. You'll hate Tom and Hannah's family and you'd like to feel sorry for Isabel, but Alicia Vikander is trying sooo hard to suffer, that you just can't. Oscar or not, I don't think she has quite the experience for such a role and for me it was painful to watch how she acts. There is of course the question if her character was written this way or was she just that bad.

Fassbender is great as always, but his role doesn't allow much playground for him. The same for Rachel Weisz.

The relationship between Tom and Isabel feels unnatural with zero chemistry the whole time so you are wondering why they are even together... I don't know how can someone cry or have feelings other than hatred watching this.

They are wasting so much time for the beginning of the story that they have to cut the second half short which is a pity. We don't get to know the real mother , her story is really just cut short.

Unfortunately it was a waste of time. I really don't recommend going to the movies for this.
21 out of 37 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
mannacio-124-6820113 September 2016
Overly long movie that seems even longer than it is. Mawkish sentimentality prevails in this bit of treacle. Excellent photography and a fairly good score cannot save this film from itself. The women are so self-possessed it is hard for them to generate much sympathy from the audience. Editing as also quite weak and obtrusive. One must wonder if there was a story-board of any kind.

The morality play might even have left some viewers with questions about their own motivations if it had ended earlier. As it is, the movie falls flat. I would definitely not have gone to see it if I had known.

Be warned, this is a waste of time.
31 out of 58 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Don't fall in love with a mad woman
anamariadl20 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
From the very first moment when Tom lays eyes on Isabel he senses he will be dealing with a crazy lady. What kind of lady spends time on her own, ignoring anyone in sight, apart from some hungry seagulls? What kind of lady forces a man into taking her out for a 'picnic' on the very day she meets him, and then, not long after, she forces him into actual marriage? A war distraught Tom falls for the beauty and (in)sanity of Isabel, deciding to take her with him and live in seclusion at the light house. All romantic and nice until she loses two pregnancies, and on the same very day of the passing of her second child, they find a baby in a boat and she forces him into keeping the baby. Kudos for the man for deciding to follow his reason and heart, when he meets the real mother of the child. The film made me feel really upset with the main female character for how she was portrayed, the villain, the insane unable-to-have- her-own-baby-let-me-steal- one mother who could easily say about the man who offered her everything " I will never forgive that man for as long as I live." Am I supposed to pity her in any way? I could not. It bothered me so much when she decided to pick up the little girl in the shop and not let her go, making things worse. I think all of it could have been avoided if he did not decide to marry the first one crazy single lady that crossed his path. Also, I think because she is really the villain in this story, she never gets to have closure. She never gets to see "her" daughter again. Though wonderfully acted by the actors, great editing, I will have to say I did not enjoy the film as much as it is probably meant to be enjoyed. As a conclusion, I will follow the German dead guy in a boat advice "You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day, all the time. You have to keep remembering the bad things. It's too much work" and forgive myself for having watched this film, and definitely not recommend it to anyone.
7 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Excellent Cinematography, But Nothing Much Else
themovieparadise23 September 2016
When you go back and watch another film by director Derek Cianfrance, The Place Beyond the Pines, you see how effective the decision is to tell the story over a very long period of time, and jump around, focusing on certain parts of these people's lives. Because that's what you're viewing: a person's life rather than a story. For Pines, it works tremendously. Cianfrance tries to do that for The Light Between Oceans, and it doesn't work nearly as well. Instead, it makes the film feel rather disjointed, and you have no real understanding of time. You have to guess how much time has passed, and that began to get really frustrating. But with this style of jumping around a timeline, the film picked and chose what to gloss over and what to spend time on. And they made some really wrong decisions. There were parts of this movie that were done in two minutes that should have been fifteen minutes, and parts that were fifteen minutes that should have been two minutes. There were parts skipped over that could have added so much depth and power to this film, and parts that they spent so much time on that didn't really add anything to the overall movie...
16 out of 28 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
wilkiecollins18 June 2017
Too many sunsets, too many dawns, too many minutes (30, at least, perhaps 40) make this film very cloying, sometimes almost unbearable. Pity. The story is not much but it has something, and with a soberer director... Really ridiculous at the end, when Tom says to Lucy: a pity you did not come before (when Isabel was still alive), and she just answers that she couldn't. What the hack was she doing, during 20 years?
8 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The Light Between Mediocrity
tyleramato-286803 September 2016
"The Light Between Oceans" had all the right ingredients to be a serious Oscar contender, a great director, a great cast, beautiful cinematography, a beautiful score, and a gripping story, but it ends up falling way, way short of its end goal, it's unrelenting in its efforts to get an emotional reaction out of its audience, and in doing so the movie loses some of its humanity and relatedness, the film also suffers from its 2 hour run time, with about 20-25 minutes cut from its run time, it could have at the very least been a solid period drama about such a daunting subject matter, but instead it's just a very big disappointment.
36 out of 72 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed