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The Light Between Oceans: Movie Review

Hannah Goodwyn


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"You only have to forgive once." To resent, "you have to do it all day, everyday."

Love and grief can push you beyond your imagined limits, expanding your heart or ripping it apart. But, forgiveness, though it may be extraordinarily difficult, can set you free.

The Light Between Oceans, Walt Disney's new picture based on M.L. Stedman's novel, dives into the unseen realms of how love, grief, and grace reach the very depths of us. It's a timeless, heartbreaking movie about the freedom and healing found in forgiveness.

Real-life couple Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs, 12 Years a Slave) and Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl) star in this romance that turns tragic. Director and screenwriter Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine), along with moving performances by Fassbender, Vikander and costar Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener), breathes life into this emotional tale.

Arriving on the coast of Western Australia after the Great War, Tom Sherbourne (Fassbender) relishes the thought of a lonely post as the new lighthouse keeper on Janus Island. His solitary life proves incomplete once he's fallen for a local young woman by the name of Isabel (Vikander). As husband and wife, the two make a home together, alone on the island. Tragedy befalls the couple and it brings Isabel almost to the end of all hope. But, the miraculous arrival of a baby gives Tom and Isabel their happily ever after. That is until the news reaches the mainland.

Set against a beautiful film score by Oscar-winning composer Alexandre Desplat (The Grand Budapest Hotel, The King's Speech) and gorgeous New Zealand landscapes, The Light Between Oceans pulls you into an upclose and personal story that will tug at your every heartstring. It's emotional (maybe too much for some). It's warm. It's complicated.

The story isn't hurried, and may be too slow for some audiences, but stick in there and you'll come away with a moving story about the undying love of two mothers, the sacrificial love of a husband for his wife, and the eternal truths found in forgiveness and mercy. The Christian faith comes into play nicely throughout the film, from its strong, spiritual themes to moments of conviction and prayer.

Rated PG-13 for thematic material and some sexual content, The Light Between Oceans warrants caution for younger audiences. There are two sex scenes; both are between husband and wife and aren't gratuitous.

Bring tissues if you plan to see The Light Between Oceans and you're a crier.

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About The Author


Hannah Goodwyn served as a Senior Producer for, managing and writing for the award-winning website. After her undergraduate studies at Christopher Newport University, Hannah went on to study Journalism at the graduate level. In 2005, she graduated summa cum laude with her Master's from Regent University and was honored with an Outstanding Student Award. From there, Hannah began work as a content producer for For ten years, she acted as the managing producer for the website's Family and Entertainment sections. A movie buff, Hannah felt right at home working as's