Friday, September 2, 2016 marked the official US theatrical release of The Light Between Oceans, the romantic period drama from writer/director Derek Cianfrance based on the novel of the same name by M.L. Stedman. Nerd Nation was in attendance the previous Monday, August 29, 2016 courtesy of Dreamworks Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Allied Marketing, and Regal Cinemas.
Worth noting is that this film will not see its UK/Worldwide release until November 4, 2016, so for our dear readers “across the pond” this will be an exceptionally early review. So how did this highly anticipated adaptation of the bestselling novel measure up?
Read on to see for yourselves!
Set in Western Australia following the Great War (also known as World War I) in the late teens/early 20s of the 20th century, The Light Between Oceans follows the story of Tom Sherbourne (Michael Fassbender of Prometheus, X-Men: Apocalypse) a war veteran and lighthouse keeper who moves to a small, remote town to tend their lighthouse on an otherwise secluded island a few miles off the coast. Tom is content to live and work in solitude until he meets Isabel (Alicia Vikander of Ex Machina, The Danish Girl). The two fall in love, marry, and move in together on the island, where they live in solitude for several months out of every year.
Over the next couple years, the couple try to concieve a child, but are unsucessful in their efforts, much to their dismay. One day, a small wrecked rowboat washes ashore on the remote island, and the couple discover a dead man and his surviving newborn baby daughter. Desperate for a child of their own, the two agree to keep the incident quiet, burying the dead man, and raising the baby girl as their own, naming her Lucy. As Isabel recently miscarried, they know that no one will be the wiser.
But as the years progress and young Lucy grows older, the couple discover that a local woman in the nearby coastal town Hannah Roennfeldt (Rachel Weisz of The Constant Gardner, Constantine) was Lucy’s true mother, and that her late husband, a German, had taken their newborn daughter out to sea to escape the ire of the intolerant townsfolk. What happens next? Will she find out the truth? What becomes of young Lucy? All of these questions will be answered, but you’ll have to watch the movie and find out for yourselves!
It simply can’t go unstated just how technically magnificent this film really is. It’s perfect period accuracy – from the wardrobes to the locations and everywhere in-between – are absolutely incredible. The cinematography is beautifully done, particularly the breathtaking shots on the lighthouse island, and the editing is A+. Frankly, this writer will be shocked if this film doesn’t take home several major awards for its camerawork. Furthermore, the acting is spectacular. Fassbender and Vikander are both outstanding in their performances, playing off each other perfectly, and Weisz is certainly no slouch either. Perhaps unsurprising for three actors with Academy Award credits to their resumes, but impressive all the same.
The Bottom Line:
Overall, The Light Between Oceans is just an absolutely beautiful film. It’s amazingly well shot, well acted, and well produced. It’s a wonderfully heart-wrenching story about the lengths we’re willing to go for true love, and the sacrifices we’re willing to endure to do what’s right. This one definitely has ‘Oscar winner’ written all over it, and is sure to go down as one of the best overall films of 2016 in any category, but particularly among the romantic drama. – 9.5/10
Editor/Staff Writer: Nerd Nation Magazine