I never read M. L. Stedman’s novel of the same name, from which this movie was adapted, but I really enjoyed this film, even though it put me through the emotional wringer. It received only mediocre reviews, but I think it’s a first-rate film. The Writer/Director, Derek Cianfrance (of “Blue Valentine”), gets superb performances from Michael Fassbender as Tom Sherbourne, Alicia Vikander as Isabel Sherbourne, and Rachel Weisz as Hannah Roennfeldt.
Tom has returned to Australia after World War I. Many of his soldier buddies were killed, and he has survivor guilt. He has been through hell and has PTSD, which has left him emotionally walled-off and withdrawn. Not feeling comfortable returning to normal life, he takes a job manning a remote lighthouse in Australia, where, from the top, one can see two oceans.
His boss – who lives on a nearby island – is the father of a beautiful young woman, Isabel, who has limited options for marriage. She is immediately taken with Tom, despite his difficulties. The small ember of life still remaining within him is ignited by Isabel’s love. (They are lovers in real life now, too, so they have great chemistry.) The only person who can live with him at the lighthouse is a spouse, so they soon marry. They are very much in love and are living an idyllic life, until they try to start a family.
I can’t say any more about the plot, but the film has breathtaking cinematography by Adam Arkapaw, a complex, emotionally-intense and compelling story, in addition to the great performances.
It has a couple of flaws, primarily taking itself too seriously with an overly schmaltzy score (Alexandre Desplat) and an excessive frequency of close-ups to bump up the emotional impact, which was unnecessary.
Maybe I’m “all-wet,” but I recommend you see it on the BS now!
P.S. – Bring plenty of tissues!