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The Light Between Oceans

“Will we always be this beautiful?” “Yes, my love.”


Synopsis: Post WWI, Australian lighthouse keeper and his wife struggle to start a family. One day a boat washes ashore with an infant.

The book The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman is about two good but desperate people who make a momentous decision that hugely impacts several people’s lives. The movie of the same name is about how even beautiful people have problems.

All I knew about the movie going in was that a romance was promised and that the couple wanted to have a baby. The couple, Tom and Isabel, are played by beautiful actors Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander. Swoon…

The film opens with handsome WWI veteran Tom interviewing for a job as a lighthouse keeper off the Australian coast. He was traumatized during the war and wants to get away from people. The keeper position is vacant because the last man went mad from the isolation. So I don’t know that Tom’s plan will help his recovery.

He does get the job and before venturing off from the nearest coastal town, he meets a local girl, Isabel. She quickly and understandably becomes attracted to him what with his brooding manliness and divine visage — thankfully spared from any war wounds.

They write each other long letters and fall in love. Before long, Tom’s resolve to live a monk-like existence, looking fine while laboring about the island, falls away. And why shouldn’t he want the spritely goddess of his affections by his side?

They marry and embark upon a passionate idyll. How pleasing to watch M. Fassey and Alicia V. being happy, gorgeous newlyweds. And all the while they wear glorious vintagey outfits. He strides about the island looking rugged in unbuttoned henley shirts and suspendered trousers that show off his physique. You’ll be smitten when he appears in a knit turtleneck — not an easy look to pull off. She frolics and gambols with the goats and chickens, wearing flowy dresses and cute boots. Going to the mainland for a visit, she looks adorable in a slouchy bohemian hat. Of course, they both look best in each other’s arms.

But there is trouble in paradise because although they long to share their happiness and superlative attactiveness genes with children, Isabel suffer a series of miscarriages and stillbirths. I felt so sorry for them, and me too, because I wanted to see them joyously rolling around in bed, not sadly staring out at the ocean.

One day, a baby washes up to shore in a little boat, as babies do. Now they have their own little Moses, whom they call Lucy. Tom argues that they can’t keep her. Isabel,

Modeling the season’s latest hipster family fashion

half-crazed with surging maternal feeling, tells him not to be silly, no one will be missing her and –here her eyes glint like a lioness — they will not be returning her to the mainland.

Time passes and they love and care for baby. But Tom’s conscience torments him and he wonders how did baby end up adrift..she must have some family… do I look better with facial hair or without? Isabel is untroubled by such thoughts, completely besotted by little Lucy. And it’s a good thing that you, viewer, are sitting down because otherwise baby’s overwhelming adorableness might make you dizzy and fall.

I wrung my hands, wondering how they could remain safe and happy on the island. I’d have to wait for the movie to resolve these questions. But I instantly knew the answer to one of Tom’s questions —do I look better with facial hair or without? Answer: Both!

P.S. M. Fassey and Alicia V. became a real life couple. The world awaits their beautiful offspring.

Movie Overview

Grade:  B

Cut to the Chase: Sympathetic story, heartfelt performances by the leads.

Comedy Highlight: Neither lead employs an Australian accent for their Australian characters


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