So first of all, apologies for the last minute rescheduling of our recent movie The Light Between Oceans. We obviously were tempting fate by having a season with a water theme, because this is the second time we have been rained out. Having said that, we were pleasantly surprised by how many people were able to show up on a Sunday night, particularly our neighbours from Princeton Farms. Thank you for turning out - it gave us pause to think whether Sunday might be a better choice for people. We’re going to stick with the schedule we have for now, but if we have another postponement we’ll probably try this again.
As for the movie…if last week’s Promised Land was noticeably lacking in water, then The Light Between Oceans made up for it in spades - and buckets. A windswept rock called Janus Rock, storms a-plenty, boats adrift – lots of climate, but perhaps sadly lacking in atmosphere. The story is unfortunately very workman-like. After losing two infants through miscarriage, the couple at the centre of the story, Tom and Isobel Sherbourne (played by Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander) find a baby adrift in a rowboat. The isolation of their lighthouse home allows them to pass it off as their own, until they come across the grieving mother whose husband and baby was lost at sea. Tom Sherbourne, racked with guilt, leaves her clues to the baby’s origin until the deception is uncovered, and he is jailed. The baby-now-child is returned to her family, and everyone lives unhappily ever after.
I’m being a bit cynical about the plot, because in all honesty by the end of the movie I really didn’t care what happened to any of the characters, and what should have been an emotional payoff was rather limp. Rachel Weisz, who plays Hannah Roennfeldt – the baby’s birth mother – delivers a rather confusing performance which includes a ‘wisdom of Solomon’ moment when she is prepared to give up her daughter for the common good – this comes completely out of nowhere, with hardly any justification. The coda of ’20 Years later’ – Isobel’s death and the grown Lucy-Grace’s visit to a still stoic Tom seems like a rushed afterthought, and not as profound as it was probably meant to be.
Probably unfairly, I had misgivings that the original book might be of a certain type – a genre dominated by the likes of Nicholas Sparks, producing movies which tend to be saccharine-laced and contrived. The contrivance was certainly on show, but I would probably have enjoyed any kind of artificial flavoring, if it only it provided something more tasty to remember…