By Liz Lopez
Writer-director Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine, The Place Beyond the Pines) has a new feature film, The Light Between Oceans, a romantic period story, adapted from the 2012 novel by M.L. Stedman. For fans of this genre of film, be prepared to take the tissues to the theater, as some of the scenes may bring some viewers to tears. For anyone who has not read the book and enter the theater without certain expectations for the film from the novel, The Light Between Oceans has beautiful coastal scenes, shot by Adam Arkapaw, that will certainly lull the viewer into believing the love story at the beginning of the film between an Australian veteran of WWI, Tom Sherbourne (Michael Fassbender) and Isabel (Alicia Vikander), will have a story book ending.
You certainly hope they do after they do decide to marry and live where he is employed as the lighthouse keeper on the island of Janus (pronounced “Jane-us”) and they are the only two who reside on the piece of land that at first appears to be a sanctuary. As the story develops, this haven of love with no interference from anyone becomes the site of that can bring them heaven and hell at the same time based on a decision they make. These two actors are perfect in their roles that have a vast range of emotions, from restrained to shear desperation. This drama and romance film is one that I certainly do recommend for this opening weekend.
Without revealing much more about the film, The Light Between Oceans is not only about this one young couple, but another woman who lives on the mainland, Hannah (Rachel Weisz), who is living through her own sense of loss as a widow who lost a young daughter as well. As the scenes are developing about the story behind Hannah’s loss and how it ties into the happiness that Tom and Isabel are enjoying on the island, there is one scene that will pull on just about anyone’s heart strings and especially so if parents are in the audience.
Like any other film that has been adapted from a book or other source, there will be fans and there will be those who oppose it because “it isn’t like the book,” or similar statements. I certainly recommend viewing it with an open mind as the story and film that Cianfrance created. If in doubt, view it during a matinee or on a day when a theater offers a discount, but I doubt there will be a dry eye in the theater.
The film has an MPAA Rating of PG-13 and a running time of 132 minutes, with a multitude of theaters across Austin offering the film as of this weekend.
Source: Walt Disney Studios release of a DreamWorks Pictures