Friday, September 9, 2016
The Light Between Oceans & Complete Unknown
The Light Between Oceans – Directed by Derek Cianfrance who got wonderful reviews for Blue Valentine (2010) (click for T&T post) starring Ryan Gosling & Michelle Williams as a couple on their last legs of marriage, and mixed reviews for The Place Beyond the Pines (2012) (click for T&T post) which is not easy to sum up in one sentence, but is where Gosling met now wife Eva Mendes. His latest film The Light Between Oceans (based on a novel by M. L. Stedman) is where Michael Fassbender and Academy Award winner Alicia Vikander fell in love. So it would seem Cianfrance is not just good at casting, but also matchmaking.
READ MORE Vogue.comFassbender’s character Tom is newly back from War War I and feeling a lot of survivor’s guilt. He takes a job as a lighthouse keeper at a remote lighthouse off the coast of Australia. Before setting out to his isolated post, he's invited to dinner by his employer. You can tell he’s immediately taken with his boss’s daughter, Isabel (Vikander) but she’s the one who pushes the romance along. Soon the film rides a wave of romantic montages with the newlyweds getting to know each other and enjoying the privacy and beauty of their Lighthouse island. The only thing missing to make their little piece of heaven complete is a baby; unfortunately, Isabel can't seem to carry to term. We witness two horrifying miscarriages, resulting in two sad little grave markers. Isabel is actually visiting the fetus burial grounds when an infant girl and deceased father wash up on shore in a row boat. Tom, a man of duty and honor, feeling responsible to his position of lighthouse keeper, immediately plans to report the findings. Isabel begs and pleads with him to bury the father, and raise the little girl as their own. Tom discovers with time he can get over having gone against protocol, experiencing happiness with little Lucy and Isabel. But upon discovering the still grieving mother Hannah (Rachel Weisz) his conscience won't let him rest.
A Matter of Right & Wrong? My friend Diane and I had a difference of opinion after seeing the film. Isabel & Tom have Lucy for 4 years, I feel like at that point you just have to be committed to your decision, no matter how guilty you feel. At this point, it's best for the mother to think she lost her child at sea rather than try and bond with a child who doesn’t know her. It’s better for the child to stay with the family she knows and loves, it’s better not to destroy your entire existence, lose your position, go to jail, disgrace yourself, your wife and her family. Diane thinks no matter the consequences you must come clean, that it's cruel and impossible to live with such a lie.
What might have been an interesting twist, which did not happen, is if Hannah had turned out to be an abusive parent and you later found out Lucy would have been much better off with Tom & Isabel.
As it stands, if you take God's possible judgement at the pearly gates off the table and just assess the situation in terms of sticking with a decision or waffling, what do you think you'd do? I'll respond to any comments on my facebook post for #LightBetweenOceans
T & T's LAMB (movie bloggers association) Score:3.5 outta 5
Back to Back Rachel WeiszComplete Unknown - Writen/Directed by Joshua Marston. This movie puts me in mind of Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me if You Can. Weisz plays a woman who can reinvent herself and learn new careers and trades very quickly, so she just moves from city to city, creating new identities. We see her in the medical profession, as a magicians assistant, an artsy student and more. But suddenly she wants to see someone who knew her before becoming this illusive shape shifter and sets about to get invited to a birthday party for her ex-boyfriend from college played by Michael Shannon. There is a great little cameo with Danny Glover and Kathy Bates as husband and wife - perhaps it's because both these actors had their heydays around the same time period, but I felt they really made a cute and believable couple.
In The Light Between Oceans, Weisz makes a lovely, sympathetic character, but there isn't much to the role. As Alice/Jennifer etc.. in Complete Unknown she visually gets to show more range, however, we never get to witness any of her personas for longer than a minute; that's not where the movie puts its focus. The meat of the film consists of quite a lot of exposition as Weisz tries to explain to the curmudgeonly Shannon, why she's been doing this since she left college and disappeared. But it would be more interesting to know how. In this day and age where it's almost impossible to live off the grid and without a social security number, how is she able to just cut up her credit cards, get a new drivers license and apply for jobs without anyone investigating her past or creditors tracking her down?
T & T's LAMB (movie bloggers association) Score: 2 outta 5
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