The Light Between Oceans (2016) Review


Tom a lighthouse keeper and his wife Isabel rescue a baby from a rowing boat and raise it as their own.


Tom arrives in a small town ready to head out for his new life as the lighthouse keeper. We are briefly told that he was involved in the Great War and fought very bravely for his country. He is therefore looking forward to spending the months and time alone. Or at least he thought that is what he wanted. Upon meeting Isabel a bond was formed and they exchange letters.

This was not really the film I expected from watching the trailers. I was expecting a fantastically emotional romance, with amazing scenes and then a lot of drama. The love scenes are well pretty awkward between Fassbender and Vikander so maybe a real life couple aren’t the best when it comes to creating passion on screen? It was just a little bit flat at times and you didn’t really have a massive story to build on. The letters were good, but the marriage happened too fast. The sex scene was more cringeworthy than the passion I was expecting in all honesty.

I guess too much about the story is actually given away in the trailers that they find a baby and raise her as their own. But the little parts in-between that really make a difference to the story. The fact that Isabel has been pregnant twice and only recently lost her second baby, so when one just happens to appear in the sea that certainly influences the decisions made.

Everything seems to be moving along nicely as “Lucy” is getting older and the family live on the island. Problems occur earlier when Tom spots Hannah in the grave yard on the day of the Christening and realises that she is in fact Lucy’s mother! That then puts Tom in a difficult situation as he struggles with the guilt behind it all, especially when he finds out the full story.

The film does manage to tug at your heartstrings as you wonder what the outcome is going to be when people actually find out. The way Tom protects his wife really is lovely yet equally frustrating when Isabel doesn’t seem to realise what he has actually done for her to be able to live.

I think my main problem with the film is that I was just expecting so much more in terms of the love story and passion. So disappointment is probably the best way to describe how this film was for me. Especially with our leading actors who are both held in very high regard. I do enjoy Fassbender in well everything I have seen him in so far, he really is something else on screen. I just felt that we were cheated out of more background from Tom to really help understand him more. Vikander is one of those actresses that seem to have everyone behind her, I wasn’t overly impressed with her in this one as again was expecting a lot more.

A tough film to review and sum up in all honesty, the running time also makes it a tough and slow watch as we are constantly left waiting for something incredible to happen which never really does.

4 thoughts on “The Light Between Oceans (2016) Review

  1. It’s incredibly frustrating to see so much brilliance in a movie that tries so hard, and ultimately fails to deliver. It’s been a long time since I came out of a theatre feeling so flat!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This film seems to have split opinions. It certainly is flawed with a rushed beginning and ending, but I did admire the cinematography and for the most part the score, although it did go over the top on occasions. I found the pace to be a bit plodding in places, but having said all that I found myself enjoying it. The acting from the main characters definitely swayed it for me even though there was minimal back story to them.

    I have to admit to being a fan of Alicia Vikander ever since seeing her in the Danish film
    “A Royal Affair” in 2012. For me she is the life and soul of “The Light Between Oceans” but is ably supported by outstanding performances from Michael Fassbender and Rachel Weisz.

    I agree that it is a difficult film to review but I decided just to go with it and was definitely moved in places (not quite to tears!). Hope it gets some recognition in the forthcoming awards season.

    Liked by 1 person

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