‘The Light between Oceans’ is a movie about a couple – Tom Sherbourne (Michael Fassbender), a lighthouse keeper, and Isabel (Alicia Vikander), his wife, live alone in scenic isolation off the coast of Australia on Janus Rock. After two miscarriages, Isabel is fraught with sadness. Along comes a boat with a dead man and a baby. Instead of reporting the finding, Tom is persuaded by Isabel to bury the man and keep the baby as their own. Who would know? The story from there unveils with them raising a girl, later discovering the identity of her birth mother (Rachel Weisz) and the moral consequences of their actions.
It is an average movie and fairly predictable in terms of plot. The spectacular shots of the ocean, sky and a couple cocooned away from reality amidst little hills and soft sands are worth watching.
What did get to me (in a good way) was the dynamic between Tom and Isabel, almost an embodiment of Adam and Eve. The temptation from Isabel to sin, Tom’s battle with his conscience and his ultimate choice to adhere to breaking his firm moral stance to keep his wife happy. This film is a tender portrayal of a man’s commitment to his love and the lengths he will go to to protect her. Maybe I loved Tom so much because I could see a lot of my sweet husband in him, who although infuriates me to the moon and back, is a man who would do anything for me and our daughter.
There is a scene where a few men come to visit the island and Isabel is hopping mad at Tom because she’d told him not to call any doctors. Before he can explain himself, she runs off. Then when she storms back to the house ready to explode again, it turns out he called them to fix her broken piano. The way Tom looks at her with no resentment for her rash silliness is the sweetest thing.
Although Isabel is an adult capable of understanding the difference between right and wrong, she continues to live selfishly, content with her child and Tom. When her world falls apart, she blames Tom and refuses to take responsibility for her part. There is no effort on her part to understand him and how hard it was for him to live with himself knowing another mother was living through hell each day because of them.
At the heart of this rather glossy, impractical story is the essence of man and woman. Every smile and look shared between the two of them is breathtaking. Fassbender is broodingly handsome. Vikander outshines him with her spirited performance. The little girl who plays Lucy is superb too. Weisz is average and not too convincing in her grief.