For Tom Sherbourne, a man of few words, there’s numbness after four years of bloodshed on the battlefront.
There’s relief at the isolation provided by his new assignment as lighthouse keeper off the Western coast of Australia.
There’s love when young Isabel from the mainland puts the sparkle back into his life and moves in as his wife.
There’s helplessness as Tom watches Isabel pine for a baby after two miscarriages.
There’s a moral dilemma when a baby is washed up ashore in a boat that carries its young dead father. Should Tom, always morally upright, dutifully report the boat and its occupants? Or give in to his wife’s plea and keep the baby as their own?
There’s the joy of parenthood that little Lucy brings into his and her life for four blissful years.
There’s despair when he chances upon Hannah, the little girl’s biological mother who’s still grieving for Franz, her German husband, and her baby, both lost at sea four years ago.
There’s a tussle with his conscience again, this time Tom must do what’s right.
There’s gratitude, gallantry and chivalry as he takes the rap for not reporting the baby and its father even if it means facing the more serious charge of murder.
Tom, the husband, unhesitatingly shields Isabel, his wife. She, his wife, unforgivingly does him in.
It’s the men in the story who get it right. Snapshots of the past reveal that Hannah’s German husband had his own chant for happiness. Franz always told Hannah that you only have to forgive once to shed the baggage of sadness.
There’s redemption for Tom and Isabel, she wilting away with longing.
There’s closure as charming young woman Lucy Grace, brought up by her real mother, turns up at Tom’s doorstep.
Basing his film on a book authored by ML Stedman, director Derek Cianfrance milks every known human emotion, his saga spread leisurely over 30 eventful years. If you like emotional upheavals with a soothing backdrop of the sea and nature’s beauty around the lighthouse, head for this ultimate romance. For those who prefer a quick pace and don’t go for mush, stay away.
Watchable Michael Fassbender as Tom and the lovely Alicia Vikander as Isabel make the period drama worth the 2 hours and 13 minutes.
For a film that brims over with emotional content, The Light Between Oceans gets a 3 star rating.