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Lighthouse of Heartache – ‘The Light Between Oceans’ shines in the theater

Rated PG13 for sexual content, language and some adult situations

2 hr 12 min (132 min) Trailer
Directed and screen written by Derek Cianfrance
Writers: Derek Cianfrance (screenplay) & M.L. Stedman (novel)

I am not normally one for romance movies or easily swayed, but this beautiful film really makes a lady want to be whisked away by a man in a lighthouse. Like lighthouses are supposed to do, they draw you in and are a way forward to help in navigating through the world. In this story, the lighthouse seems to symbolize overcoming challenges and finding guidance. It is amazing how one decision can alter a lifetime. The story is poignant and sweet, but so sorrowful at the same time.

The film is based on the novel The Light Between Oceans, written by M.L. Stedman. As implied in the trailers, the plot revolves around a WWI veteran named Tom Sherbourne (played by Michael Fassbender) who becomes a lighthouse keeper on a quaint island off the coast of Australia. Tom seeks solitude in the lighthouse, until he meets the spirited & beautiful Isabel Graysmark (Alicia Vikander).  The veteran becomes quite taken with the young lady, and begins to open up to her after exchanging a few letters. The pair soon marry, and move in to the lighthouse together.

One day, Tom & Isabel find an infant in a rowboat, with the mother nowhere to be seen. The two decide to take the child in, name her Lucy, and raise her as their own. There is some internal conflict with Tom, who feels guilt knowing that the child is not truly theirs, that the mother may be searching for her, and that he has a duty to report everything that goes on near the lighthouse. Isabel carries on in true bliss with caring for the child, and in her eyes their true child.

The drama is taken to new heights when the child’s birth mother, Hannah Roennfeldt (played by Rachel Weisz) is found, and Tom becomes guilt-ridden. He begins to leave clues, which ultimately lead to an encounter between himself, Isabel, Hannah, and authorities. This tangled triangle is the root for the last heartbreak we see for many of the characters. Like a lighthouse, Tom is made to weather the storm with his strength and provide shelter for those for whom he cares deeply. Like the light, he gives true guidance and steadfastness in their relationship.

This film is so much more than just a post WWI drama.  Its timeline ranges between 1918 & 1950, and uses breathtaking scenery (this was shot in Tasmania, Australia, & New Zealand) to enhance the story. There is something about a strong lighthouse and the simple secluded living that has a certain appeal, and this movie has my bags packed and ready to move in. The striking sunsets that overtake and swell the entire movie screen are reason enough to see this movie in theaters, and the story will make you want to read the novel as well. The actors will move you and pull at your heartstrings in their dramatic performances and will root for them until the end.

I give The Light Between Oceans 4 out of 5 lighthouses

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