‘Fassbender and Vikander – what could possible go wrong?’
The Light Between Oceans tries desperately to be a harrowing and emotional romantic tragedy but the sheer amount of heartache becomes too much to bare for 120 minutes. Ultimately, what we have is a dull, tedious, repetitive melodrama that doesn’t seem to take itself anywhere but the realm of sadness.
Set on an Island off the west coast of Australia, Tom spends his days tending the lighthouse and ensuring all is fine. A bleak and lonely outlook on life is quickly meet by a ray of sunshine. The young and care free Isabel (Alicia Vikander), who practically woos Tom (Michael Fassbender) with every inch of her smile eventually (or should we say, rather swiftly) becomes his wife and resides on this little island estranged from the mainland. As one would hope, their happiness blossoms as they wait for the next member of the family to show its face until Isabel sadly miss-carries. Desperate to give it another go, we yet again see her happily pregnant and practically about to burst when they are struck again by terrible sadness. Isabel is basically shattered into pieces after this tragedy and what’s worse is that they only have each other’s to talk about it with. Due to the shame of the situation they wouldn’t dare tell another soul. As they wallow in their sadness, the faint cry of a baby fights it’s why through the whir of the wind as they find a new born baby and a deceased male in a boat that has found its way to shore.
They find themselves in a tough situation and a risk that they know would have severe consequences if ever found out. But however wrong this is, one can’t help but empathise with the pair who want nothing more in the world then to start a family. After a strong debate, they decide to keep the child and say that it is their own. All seems to be going well until the real mother of the child shows up and Tom’s guilt is far too much to carry. Of course, this makes all the noises when it comes to aspects of motherhood and the strain it came place on families, whether they had a healthy pregnancy or not. It’s no wonder Fassbender and Vikander fell for each other here as both roles demand copious amounts of emotions and connectivity on a rather involved level.
The main issue with The Light Between Oceans is the mundane face it plods along at – virtually nothing exciting happens apart from the couple committing a crime. Other than that, it’s twirling in the grass, long conversations of right and wrong and well nothing much else happens. The message of no matter how much you want something, you shouldn’t take it if it isn’t yours appears blatantly throughout. The sheer joy and happiness this child brings to Tom and Isabel’s marriage, the inevitable resolution doesn’t seem to make it worthwhile.
Overall, there are good performances alongside a solid story – just make sure you are in a comfortable seat with enough nibbles to chow down on whilst watching this whirlwind of a romance unfold into something rather dull.
Directed by Derek Cianfrance
133mins, 12A (2016)
133mins, 12A (2016)