The Light Between Oceans tells the story of a lighthouse keeper and his wife living off the coast of Western Australia raise a baby they rescue from a drifting rowing boat.
I read this book a while ago upon hearing that it was being adapted into a film and it being an Australian novel, I was keenly interested to read it as I’m all for supporting more Australian content. The film hardly felt Australian, especially with Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, and Rachel Weisz’s Australian accents dismal and leaning towards the easier more English sounding inflections then anything else. The support actors were clearly Australians, and whether you’re not from Australia or whatever country you’re from, you can tell when the accent of your country or even particular region sounds natural. Even Kate Winslet in The Dressmaker or even Robert Downey Jr’s attempts in Tropic Thunder and Natural Born Killers were better accents. If this is meant to be an Australian film but this is not to discredit those leading the film as they’re all brilliant actors in their own right, though may be not exactly for this film. It’s almost as if this film was lacking in a specific location in the world with even Fassbenders natural Irish accent creeping in though oddly “Waltzing Matilda,” a well known Australian folk tune, started to play towards the beginigng of the film and being dotted with supporting Australian accents gave a sense of confusion as to where this film was actually meant to be set.
In comparison to the novel it was adapted from, The Light Between Oceans is a truthful adaptation of the novel, which was also in turn very slow moving and almost frustrating to the point where I actually threw it across the room. I absolutely couldn’t stand Vikander’s Isabel as her character is so obsessed with having a child that there’s absolutely nothing else that could possibly interest her. It even gets to the point that she would even manipulate and convince her poor husband Tom, played by real life boyfriend Michael Fassbender, to take in a child that comes in on a boat that washes up on the shore of the island they inhabit as lighthouse keepers. You’d have to be insane to steal someone else’s baby and claim it as your own.
With director Derek Cianfrance’s 2010 adaptation of Blue Valentine, it should be no surprise that this just over two hour apparent “sob fest” as I’ve heard it being described as was at the slow pace it was. He slowed it down so much that it turns into an excruciatingly slow crawl of a film. that barely held my attention throughout. The script could’ve definitely been tightened up a lot more, particularly in the first half as it feels that it just takes too long to set up.
Though it’s not exactly a memorable film and for sure won’t cause any sort of trouble at the Oscars despite being released in the season for it, The Light Between Oceans is for those who love a film that’s more of a distant and dull roar that you wouldn’t even realise was at the cinemas.