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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Just How Manipulative is THE LIGHT BETWEEN THE OCEANS?

For what it's worth, THE LIGHT BETWEEN THE OCEANS has all the makings of a sappy, melodramatic romance. And at times, there's enough syrup piled on to induce diabetes in the entire audience. But then again, there's something so utterly soulful about it that it almost plays like its own melody--a gut-wrenching opera about love and heartbreak that you can picture just the same with vintage black and white cinematography. How tragic.

Alicia Vikander and Michael Fassbender play Mr. and Mrs. Isabel and Tom Sherbourne, a couple seemingly destined for tragedy from the onset. Tom, a taciturn, wayward and newly named lighthouse keeper, numb from his time in World War I, catches even himself by surprise by falling in love with Isabel, an emphatic young woman suffering from personal trauma in her own way. While their love for each other is pure and undeniable, their overwhelming desire to fill a void in their individual heartaches would eventually become their downfall.

Isabel and Tom are desperately in love and are gearing up for parenthood in their secluded western Australia abode (that also just so happens to be prone to dangerous hurricanes), until the day their unborn child dies inside the womb--devastating the couple, particularly Isabel.  Their second miscarriage sends them further reeling into emotional paralysis. But when an opportunity to become parents unexpectedly presents itself, Isabel clings to it--despite how immoral and fleeting it might be.

To say that THE LIGHT BETWEEN THE OCEANS is manipulative is really just another way of admitting that it emotionally affects you, because there's really no way around that. I mean, the movie is about a couple so wrought with their own personal tragedy that they resort to knowingly being the cause of emotional pain for someone else (played by the eternal scene-stealer, Rachel Weisz)--resulting then in two emotionally wrecked parties with a confused, innocent child caught between them.

Okay, so there is a lot packed into this single narrative, and maybe it's designed to make you feel a certain way (that way being utterly distraught and down to your last tissue by the ending credits). But there's nothing truly that far fetched that happens in this story that should make you feel swindled. And really, the wonderful performances from Vikander and Fassbender (along with Weisz) make the movie worth the price of admission. From lesser actors, the story would have definitely become the worst Nicholas Sparks film adaptation ever. But they make you feel for them, even when they're making poor life decisions that you know will end miserably.

Did you see THE LIGHT BETWEEN THE OCEANS? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.

Rating: B+


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