• James Rutherford

'The Light Between Oceans': An Emotionally Commanding Drama Set off the Coast of Australia in 1918


Movie poster for the film The Light Between Oceans

"The Light Between Oceans" (2016) is a fervent and emotionally commanding period drama set in 1918 off the Western Coast of Australia, where traumatized World War I veteran Tom Sherbourne (Michael Fassbender) has accepted a lonely position as a lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock.


Soon after his arrival, Tom meets and falls in love with a young woman from the mainland named Isabel Graysmark (Alicia Vikander), who he brings to the island in the hope of raising a family removed from the harshness of society. Ultimately unable to bear child, Isabel becomes increasingly frustrated and withdrawn until one day a child fortuitously washes ashore in a derelict boat—appearing to her as an irrefutable gift from God. Eventually persuaded to keep the child, Tom soon finds their small family growing into place as they both fantasized, unaware of the looming threat to their tranquil existence.


Adapted from the novel by M. L. Stedman by writer/director Derek Cianfrance ("Blue Valentine", "The Place Beyond the Pines") "The Light Between Oceans" is beautifully shot and wrought with palpable emotional intensity. Kudos to cinematographer Adam Arkapaw for his lush and stately camerawork, helping to deliver an immersive cinematic experience. Imbued with compassion and humanity, it's a majestic tale of love, loss and bittersweet accord.

 

Watch the trailer: