"Forgiveness Always Trumps Resentment"
THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS is an immensely moving drama about the self-sacrifice it takes to raise a child and the forgiveness necessary to keep a marriage alive.
Opening in 1918 in Western Australia, Tom Sherbourne (Michael Fassbender) comes home from World War I needing some seclusion from the world. So, he accepts a job taking care of a lighthouse on a lonely island off the coast near a sleepy seaside town. Quiet, mannered and respectful, Tom takes well to being alone on the island. However, a young girl named Isabel (Alicia Vikander), who lives on the mainland, catches his eye. Through letters, the two fall in love and eventually get married.
Tom and Isabel prove all they need is each other on the island. Before long, Isabel is pregnant. However, midway through the pregnancy, Isabel miscarries and is devastated. Tom is the caring and loving husband Isabel needs, though. She soon becomes pregnant again, but this too ends in a miscarriage. The hope of having a family seems hopeless, until one day the tide brings in a rowboat that has a dead man and a crying baby inside. Tom prepares to report it to the mainland, but Isabel begs him not to do that. She convinces him to let them keep the baby girl and raise her as their own.
Four years pass, and baby Lucy brings incredible joy to Tom and Isabel, who become exemplary parents. Tom, however, still silently struggles with the guilt of what they’ve done. One day while visiting the mainland, the couple meets Hannah (Rachel Weisz), a widow who lost her husband and baby daughter at sea four years prior. Tom and Isabel immediately understand they’ve been raising Hannah’s daughter.
With this new knowledge, Tom can no longer stay silent. He must do the right thing. Against Isabel’s wishes, he leaves clues that lead to his arrest, and Tom takes the blame for everything. Everyone is placed in difficult positions now. Hannah is ecstatic to be reunited with her daughter, but Lucy is terrified to be separated from the parents that raised her. Heartbroken at having another child taken from her, Isabel loathes Tom, who sits in jail ready to take on the charges of child stealing and possibly even murder, unless Isabel testifies on his behalf.
Who will end up with the child, and can Isabel and Toms marriage be mended from the brokenness?
THE LIGHT BETWEEN THE OCEANS has excellent production values with superb acting and exquisite cinematography. The story holds your heart, and at times is gut wrenching. Viewers will want each character to find joy, comfort and resolution. The period setting is tonally authentic, and harkens back to classic period dramas from the 1980s and 90s. The resolution is bittersweet, with a reminder of the consequences bad choices bring, but with an emphasis on the uplifting parts of this story.
The worldview in THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS is explicitly Christian, with multiple layers of biblical messages. Foundational to the town, the characters and the conviction of the characters is a Christian faith. Weddings and baptisms take place at the church, and prayers to Jesus are said. Also, both the consequence of sin and the power of forgiveness for sin are shown, and doing the right thing is extolled in a powerful, self-sacrificial way.
Multiple characters in the movie are put into what seem to be moral dilemmas. Mistakes happen, but incredible conviction is also portrayed. The fight for where the child should be strongly parallels the biblical story of Solomon and the two mothers in 1 Kings 3:16-28. In the end, forgiveness becomes the driving theme among all the characters, with characters heralding, “You only have to forgive once: resentment takes all day.”
THE LIGHT BETWEEN THE OCEANS is nearly free of objectionable content. However, there’s one strong profanity, and a discreet intimate bedroom scene between Tom and Isabel. Though not explicitly titillating, the bedroom scene warrants caution for younger teenagers.
(CCC, BBB, Pa, L, V, SS, N, A, M) Very strong Christian worldview with Christian weddings, an infant baptism with a Gospel oriented sermon, multiple prayers to Jesus, with miracles and a positive message that Jesus forgives sins, father reads the portion of the three wise men following the star of the nativity story, with very strong biblical messages and references to the Gospel, the Nativity Story and of forgiving those who hurt you, showing compassion for others and sacrificing for family, plus man briefly discusses the mythology behind the name “January”; one strong profanity; a dead man is seen in a boat, woman loses two babies in miscarriages; lightly depicted sexual intimacy between married couple on their wedding night (while not titillating, the scene runs around a minute and shows them from the shoulders up), plus some implied sex in other instances; no explicit sexual nudity but hair obstructs woman breasts before sex scene, camera shows woman's midriff and bare back in another scene, upper male nudity; light alcohol consumption; smoking cigarette; and, lying and child stealing, though punished and confessed in the end.
THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS is an immensely moving drama about the self-sacrifice it takes to raise a child, and the forgiveness necessary to keep a marriage alive. The movie’s set in Western Australia in the 1920s after World War I. War veteran Tom and Isabel are a newly married couple taking care of a lighthouse on a secluded island. Isabel has two miscarriages, which devastate her. However, when a dingy with a deceased man and crying baby wash up, they decide not to report it, but raise the baby as their own. Four years later, this sin begins to catch up with them, so they must figure out how to overcome.
THE LIGHT BETWEEN THE OCEANS has excellent production values, superb acting and a powerful story. The movie’s worldview is explicitly Christian, with multiple biblical messages. Forgiveness, compassion, self-sacrifice, prayer, love, and confession of sin are all exemplified in profound and stirring ways. THE LIGHT BETWEEN THE OCEANS is nearly free of objectionable content. However, there’s one strong profanity and an discreet bedroom scene between the married couple in the story.