The Light Between Oceans

By Angie Raphael 

This is a bittersweet and thought-provoking story that poses an interesting question about the rights of parents. The story, based on the novel by M. L. Stedman, is about lighthouse keeper Tom Sherbourne (Michael Fassbender) and his wife Isabel Graysmark (Alicia Vikander), who are living off the coast of Western Australia when a row boat washes up to shore with a dead man and a crying baby inside. They make the difficult decision to raise the child as their own, not realising the heartache they are causing the girl's biological mother Hannah Roennfeldt (Rachel Weisz). The performances are fantastic, especially from Fassbender, Vikander and Weisz, who each have some powerfully emotional scenes. The child actors were also a joy to watch. However, while I understand the Aussie accent would have been somewhat different in the 1920s, there was an odd mix of accents throughout the film, even within the same family. It was quite distracting at times. It is also a shame that no one in the cast was able to properly pronounce the name of the town, Albany. Like director Derek Cianfrance's other films, such as Blue Valentine and The Place Beyond The Pines, The Light Between Oceans is slow to start and the pace never really picks up, but it is a sweeping drama that explores heartfelt themes of love, loss and family.