Towards the end of the film, there is a scene where Lucie, a baby found in the ocean who has been nurtured by the two main characters, is outside playing with her biological mother. Her mother, Hanna Roennfeldt, played by Rachel Weisz, makes her daughter a crown of daisies. As the light glimmers off the camera you realize how innocent and oblivious Lucie is to the situation. It’s a scene that has the audience grasp that this film is not about the crying child lost at sea with her father, it’s about the husband and wife who decide to raise the child rather than reporting the incident.
The Light Between Oceans stars Michael Fassbender, who plays Tom Sherbourne, a World War I veteran simply looking for peace and quiet. He temporarily becomes a lighthouse keeper, and during that time he realizes that this position offers exactly what he needs to recover. On the mainland, he meets Isabel Graysmark, played by Alicia Vikander. There’s a sense of desperation between the two to be together, a detail that correctly depicts the time after the first world war; a time when men were scarce in certain parts of the world. It’s a detail made evident throughout the movie as the death of many men in the town are referenced due the Great War.
The film continues to follow these two as they exchange letters back and forth between the mainland and the island lighthouse, which eventually leads into their marriage. Shortly after, the wife’s struggle to have children burdens her greatly and what happens next is the major plot of the film. A boat washes up near the lighthouse and there is a baby crying with a dead father beside her. Isabel’s desperation to have children drives her and her husband to not report the baby. What happens after is series of years where the girl is raised by the two. As their love for the child grows, so does Michael’s regret about their decision. It only worsens when he sees a woman crying at the cemetery over a grave that says two names above the phrase ‘Lost at Sea.’ He presumes it is their baby’s biological mother and cannot take the regret any longer.
Pacing is what hinders this almost perfect romantic-drama. Standing at 2 hours and some change, the film drags out most of its scenes showcasing the beautiful landscape that surrounds the lighthouse. Although the movie keeps a heavy theme of the ocean’s unpredictable nature, these long panoramic scenes only manage to bore its audience. In the end, however, The Light Between Oceans captures a certain point in history shortly after the great war of grand desperation. And like most romantic films, love conquers all.
Watch the official trailer for The Light Between Oceans here.
Jorge Chabo is a sophomore majoring in Economics BA. He’s from Miami, heavily into politics, and enjoys going to the movies.