The Light Between Oceans (2016) Film Review

4/5 Stars

Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander: two reasons why you need to see this film. I think they are incredible actors and they deliver committed performances. The Light Between Oceans tells the tale of a lighthouse keeper (Fassbender) and his wife (Vikander) who rescue a baby adrift off the coast of Western Australia. This is a film that has an engaging narrative and character development which will surprise audiences along the way.

The Light Between Oceans was an emotional roller coaster because it took you places you weren’t expecting or anticipating; I was an emotional wreck and I haven’t had an experience like that in a long time. I was invested in these characters and by the time they learn the true parentage of their adopted daughter you feel their pain and the moral dilemma they face.

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Bringing it back to the leading actors of the film; they were stunning. Oscar nominee Michael Fassbender portraying Tom Sherbourne, a emotionally closed off war hero who opens himself up to heartfelt local girl Isabel Graysmark played by Oscar winner Alicia Vikander. They have a lot to explore with their characters as the film covers a long period of time so you see the actors play around with the different seasons their characters go through and it’s exciting to see so much depth in a character.

Oscar winner Rachel Weisz appears later on in the film changing the mood of the film allowing the film to explore other issues and themes. The dynamic between the cast is so natural and they all blend so well together it’s great to watch. The emotion they managed to evoke is incredible and so natural.

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I can’t say much about the film as I don’t want to spoil the different avenues the film explores however I will say that you need to bring your tissues as it definitely isn’t easy on the heart. That being said what I love about the film is how it has a good pace, without the film feeling rushed or dragged along. I’ll also say that the tone of the film is consistent despite the fact events happen which changes the direction of the film yet the tone never feels uneven or abrupt; everything is connected and feels justified to be in the film. The themes explored can be heavy but they are explored delicately and there is no sense of judgement of the characters’ actions. There are so many layers to the characters which creates engaging discussions about how they cannot be easily defined.

You need to watch the film to see for yourself how intricate the narrative development is and how each character is substantial and says a lot about humanity and our need to feel belonged; to be with each other and not isolated. There’s so much I want to say about specific scenes which perfectly sum up the themes explored in the film but I won’t spoil it for you; so watch the film and then take a few minutes to process what you’ve just seen.

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Actors Appreciation Season: BEN AFFLECK

Welcome back to Actors Appreciation Season! I’ve been figuring out which actor I should focus on next, this time I’ll be talking about the one role that caught my attention and that would be Ben Affleck in Gone Girl. Ben Affleck has had his fair share of media scrutiny and has experienced the harshness of film critics, and he has risen above by winning his second Oscar for Best Picture in 2013 for Argo. He also won Best Director in 2013 for Argo at the BAFTA’s, in which he mentioned about being thankful for his new lease of life in his career, his second act.

“This is a second act for me – you’ve given me that and I’m so grateful and proud. I want to dedicate this to anyone that’s trying to get their second act because you can do it,”

After his Oscar win for Best Writing in 1998 for Good Will Hunting (alongside Matt Damon) he has had quite an experience as an actor, starring in box office flops like Gigli and critically panned films like Daredevil (for which audiences haven’t forgotten about when he was cast as Batman in the follow up to Man of Steel) but that all changed once he took hold of his career and started doing work behind the camera with 2007’s Gone Baby Gone. He then directed The Town and his critically acclaimed Argo.

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He still hasn’t given up on acting as he delayed his next directorial effort (Live By Night) so that he could work with David Fincher on 2014’s Gone Girl. This role was perfect for him as he understood what it was like to be perceived and judged by the media as he mentions in the October 2014 edition of Empire Magazine. Ben Affleck totally commits to the role and you go on his characters crazy journey to find out the fate of his missing wife.

Ben Affleck is willing to learn as well. As the established actor and director that he is, Affleck still wants to develop his craft as a director, as he mentions one of the reasons he agreed to play in Gone Girl, “Honestly, I thought, ‘It’ll probably make me a lot of a better director, for next time,’…”* This role for Affleck is layered, it’s not just a role but it is a chance to acknowledge his past and tell audiences that he is serious about his work and his love for filmmaking. Affleck plays a character that doesn’t fit the conventions of a leading man, this gives him a chance to take on different roles and challenge audiences perceptions of him.

Not only with his character, Nick Dunne, but with the whole film itself there are developments and discoveries that will shock audiences. Gone Girl starts as a missing person drama type thriller, but evolves into a film you didn’t know you were watching.

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Let’s not kid ourselves, Gone Girl is Rosamund Pike’s film as she totally owns it. However, Ben Affleck is a great co-star that has a great on screen chemistry with Pike and they both deliver an interesting dynamic as the dysfunctional married couple (I’ve said too much already). Watch the film to see their incredible performances and see Ben Affleck like you’ve never seen him before. His performance in the film is very convincing, you believe this character and there is a genuine nature to Affleck’s approach to the role.

It’s hard to describe in full how Affleck’s performance pays off without giving away any spoilers, but I will say that Affleck brilliantly showcases different sides of the character through his acting style. Also as the audience, it could be argued that you feel like a spectator and Nick allows you to go on the journey with him so that he’s not isolated by the situations that come upon him through the course of the film.


*EMPIRE Magazine. October 2014. Page 67.

Actors Appreciation Season: CAREY MULLIGAN

Carey Mulligan is one of the most exciting British actors working in the industry today. Rising to prominence in 2009 for her Oscar nominated role in An Education, she has gone on to work with some of the greats and has impressed audiences with her performances.

Carey Mulligan exudes a rawness and emotional vulnerability, a sense of tragedy which is fitting for her characters such as Daisy Buchanan (The Great Gatsby) and Kathy (Never Let Me Go). There is a sense of realness and openness to her performances that is captivating and refreshing.

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You can’t talk about Carey Mulligan without mentioning her breakout performance in An Education. The role put her in the spotlight during the awards season, including a BAFTA Film Award win and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Mulligan portrays a 16 year old school girl who enters into a doomed relationship with an older man (Peter Sarsgaard). She would have been around 24 at the time and yet she easily fitted into the role of a young naive schoolgirl longing for a life full of sophistication and maturity. Mulligan portrays the character with conviction, a girl who longs for something which is arguably unattainable. Over the course of the film she learns about the real world and it’s not all that she hoped it would be.

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One of my favourite performances from Mulligan is as Daisy Buchanan in 2013’s The Great Gatsby. The film itself is amazing and Mulligan effortlessly plays a character of glamour and tragedy. Having read the book I was more than happy with the casting, especially with Mulligan. Carey Mulligan managed to breathe life into a layered and complex role. Everything about the film weaves beautifully together, especially the chemistry between Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan. She completely transforms for this role, her American accent is perfect and her eyes tell the whole story, of a woman who lost true love and can never gain it back.

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Lastly, one of her most raw performances comes from 2010’s Never Let Me Go. Co-starring with Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield, the three play clones who are raised to be organ donors in a 1960’s sci-fi setting. The film itself is hauntingly beautiful, so many themes about life and love are highlighted with the help of the incredible performances. Carey Mulligan takes the lead role as Kathy, who is caught between a love triangle of Tommy (Andrew Garfield) and Ruth (Keira Knightly). Mulligan leads the film with such strength and wisdom, raising questions such as is living truly living? Can they truly enjoy life knowing their lives are planned out. What is out there beyond the purpose of their lives? Yet through the uncertainty, Kathy seems prepared for what is in front of her and it’s bravery that makes her an admirable character.

Carey Mulligan is bold and brave in her chosen roles, a true actors actor who loves her craft and doesn’t chase a life in the limelight. She is truly a genuine actress.