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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Review: ‘The Light Between Oceans’ has potential, but misses the mark

    Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    “The Light Between Oceans” exudes tenderness and emotion.

    From the cinematography to the way the character’s act, the intention to make the audience feel something is clear. In execution, however, the film stumbles, barely delivering an interesting premise and a thoughtful moral question.

    The biggest strength of the film is its setting, but its idyllic seaside settings may leave the audience lost in rolling waves and striking sunsets to the point they may forget to focus on the plotline. With so much emphasis placed on the environment, the film seems more like a documentary about the Australian coast than a story about the problems facing a couple living on an island, isolated.

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    The story works in parts but, as a whole, struggles to come together because of inconsistent pacing and a lack of devotion to exploring each character in full.

    The film follows a couple, Tom (Michael Fassbender) and Isabel (Alicia Vikander), who live on an isolated island with a light house that Tom works on every day.

    One day, a boat washes up onto their island, bringing with it a dead body and a baby. The couple, failing many times to have a baby of their own, decide to keep the child and bury the body.

    The first hour of the film devotes itself to exploring the couple’s relationship and, while it works for the most part, after about 30 minutes it begins to drag. It feels this way especially because the film relies on long stretches of narration in which the characters sit around writing or reading letters.

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    The film picks itself back up with the arrival of the baby. Most of the intrigue of the film comes from the constant questioning of the morals of the two protagonists, especially later in the film with the introduction of the baby’s biological mother.

    Tom has a lot of screen time throughout the movie, which can make Isabel feel hollow. Vikander brings a great performance, but still, the film stays content with just scratching the surface of her character.

    Nonetheless, the couple share a great chemistry and carry the film through, despite it feeling like a Lifetime original movie.

    Where the first act of the film feels too slow and long, the third act feels rushed. Events seem to zoom by with no real timeline given to what exactly is happening on screen. This leads to a few more important dramatic moments feeling glossed over in the end. The final scene slows things down, which works for the emotional impact the film aims for.

    “The Light Between Oceans,” at its core, tells a tender story of love and loss. This sentiment gets hampered in the execution of the film where it distributes its time in an uneven fashion to its several moving parts. In the end, the film is decent enough, but may leave you wishing its light shined a little brighter.

    “The Light Between Oceans” premieres on Friday Sept. 2 in theaters everywhere, and specifically at Harkins Tucson Spectrum 18 here in Tucson.

    Follow Aldo Ruiz on Twitter.

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