THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS Review – You Only Have to Forgive Once

THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS promised, in trailers, to confound and confront viewers with a heart-wrenching conundrum and it did that and more.  Played out mostly on a tiny island off the coast of Australia, this post-war drama is beautiful in story and scenery.  This movie is definitely worth going to a movie theater, because those sunsets and sunrises just won’t have the same impact on a small screen. THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS is rated PG-13, but there are two erotic scenes that, while not explicit, are clearly sex scenes, so you might want to leave your young children and early teens at home for this one. Continue reading for our full, spoiler-free THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS movie review.

Our hero, Tom Sherbourne (Michael Fassbender), is a World War I veteran, newly returned from France.  He has taken the job of lighthouse keeper, wanting the peace and quiet of being alone on the island after the chaos and noise of the war.  On his way to the island, he meets Isabel Graysmark (Alicia Vikander, whom I last saw in the excellent TESTAMENT OF YOUTH – another WWI film that I highly recommend).  Isabel is confident and outgoing and Tom is taken with her.  The chemistry between the actors enhances the story.  Viewers will not just believe in their love; they’ll root for it and ache for the characters as their love grows and they face their challenges.


Michael Fassbender stars as Tom Sherbourne and Alicia Vikander as his wife Isabel in DreamWorks Pictures poignant drama THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS, written and directed by Derek Cianfrance based on the acclaimed novel by M.L. Stedman. Photo by Davi Russo ©DreamWorks II Distribution Co., LLC.  All Rights Reserved.

THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS chronicles Tom and Isabel’s relationship, though it is really Tom’s story,  Their love and her immaturity, compounded by their remoteness, lead them to make dangerous choices.  The introduction of Hannah Roennfeldt (Rachel Weisz) further complicates their relationship, driving home the result and consequences of those choices.  Woven in are references to the war and the impact of the war on people at home and in battle.   Love is the driving force of this movie and not just the romantic kind.  Maternal love and sacrifice are major themes in the movie.


Oscar winner Rachel Weisz stars as Hannah Roennfeldt in DreamWorks Pictures’ poignant drama THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS. Photo by Davi Russo ©DreamWorks II Distribution Co., LLC.  All Rights Reserved.


The scenery is breathtaking.  The island is both stark and lush, depending on the angle of the shot.  The images of the oceans with the sun breaching the horizon, bleeding color across the water, is as important to the story and any of the characters, representing both the beauty and the remoteness of the island and its inhabitants.  The score is haunting and perfectly matched to the story and scenery throughout the movie.


THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS is rated PG-13. The storyline might be a little mature for young teens, but it would make a great date night movie, though.  Whomever you see it with, the many love stories charm, chill, and challenge viewers and should spark interesting conversations on dates, between spouses, and among friends. For more family movie news, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on twitter and “like” our facebook page too.

About George Gensler

George Gensler is a copyrights specialist during the week and a runner on the weekends. She lives in New York City now, but has lived in five countries on three continents. She grew up traveling the world, but her official residence was in Southern California and every visit home included a trip to Disneyland. She has also visited every Disney Park around the world and sailed on board two Disney cruises. She threw in a visit to the Disney Family museum in San Francisco for good measure, and has had the Premier Disney Park Pass since its inception.