After watching the trailer for “The Light Between Oceans,” I was ready for a really good tearjerker based on a popular novel about a married couple who miscarry but then miraculously find a baby floating at sea. As the only two residents of an island, where their sole job is to run the lighthouse, they decide to keep the baby and raise it as their own. But a few years later, they encounter a woman who just may be the true mother of the child they took in.
How could you not cry when witnessing such heartbreaking choices?
With tissues in hand, I went to watch “The Light Between Oceans,” fully expecting to get engrossed in what looked like a dramatic character study. Instead, I found myself tuned out and ready for the film to end.
My main problem with the film was that there really was no drama. I was expecting to experience characters facing some real moral dilemmas but the story is very predictable and straightforward throughout. There are absolutely no surprises and it basically takes you from Point A to Point B fully on the straight and narrow. “The Light Between Oceans” turned out to be more of a film about love than parental drama. And that would have been fine if the characters would have been more interesting and fleshed out.
You’re supposed to really feel for the Alicia Vikander’s Isabel, the lighthouse keeper’s wife. But she doesn’t come off sympathetic at all. There should have been some real tension as the audience decides who the baby really belongs with but it was totally nonexistent. Rachel Weisz plays the baby’s birth mother, but she honestly isn’t given much to do and you don’t really feel for her either as her character lack depth.
The only character with any depth is Michael Fassbender’s Tom. He is the one who really struggles between fighting for what’s right and keeping his wife happy.
With such unsympathetic characters and uninteresting story, “The Light Between Oceans” is quite a disappointment considering the talent involved.
Final Score: 5 / 10
-originally published in Frolic Hawaii