"The Light Between Oceans" Shines Through Its Stars

Movie Review - Jackie K Cooper
"The Light Between Oceans" (DreamWorks)

"The Light Between Oceans" is a movie based upon a best selling novel and therefore has a built in audience. The question is whether or not those who have not read the book will find it in theaters. It helps that Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander are the stars of the movie and they have chemistry aplenty. They bring every nook and cranny of the plot into the light and make audiences' hearts swell with the tragedy that unfolds.

The first part of the film deals with the love story of Tom (Fassbender) and Isabel (Vikander). He is the lone occupant of an island which houses the Janus Rock lighthouse. Tom is a veteran of World War I and he has seen enough death and sorrow to last him a lifetime. The solitude of Janus Rock suits his mood and his manner.

Then he meets Isabel while on a trip to the small Australian town in which she lives. They are instantly drawn to each other and after a few months of corresponding by letters they marry. Isabel is more than willing to leave her family behind and live alone with Tom on "their" island. But soon the realities of life come into play and serious situations arise that threaten their happiness. Tom is desperate to do whatever it takes to make Isabel happy and this leads to a situation that could have a long term horrible effect on their lives.

Fassbender fully portrays the conflicts that go on within Tom's soul. The pain of his choices flit across his eyes and reside in the lines on his face. It is an amazing performance that is only heightened by Vikander's own brilliant portrayal of Isabel. This actress has to create a woman who is the heroine and the villain of the story, and this is not an easy thing to do. Still for the story to succeed the audience has to be in her corner at one moment and against her in the next.

Some may argue the story is too slow at the start but I had no problem with the pacing. Every scene was necessary to make the portrait of the couple and the turmoil that they face complete. To have short changed any of the detail would have made the movie less effective.

The film is rated PG-13 for mild profanity and violence.

"The Light Between Oceans" has one of those plots that will not turn you loose after the movie ends. It will haunt your mind for days to come as you replay the love story of Tom and Isabel. There were so many pivotal points in their lives where things could have ended up much better or ended up much worse.

I scored "The Light Between Oceans" a brightly shining 7 out of 10.

Jackie K Cooper