EFC 09: The Light Between Oceans

Feat. The Music of Beach House (in a special EFC music video!)

“We can’t rightly ever talk about the future, if you think about it. We can only talk about what we imagine, or wish for.”

In the introductory post, I suggested that good films make us think, and even better ones make us feel something. Well, if you go by this rule of thumb, then The Light Between Oceans (2016) is better film. It’ll make you feel, even if that feeling is Sadness. My only caveat is that it necessarily pulls out all the stops in order to achieve its intended effect, beginning with the kitchen sink.


The war is over, but it has ravaged Tom’s soul. He is granted a post as the lighthouse keeper on the remote island of Janus, located off the southwest corner of Australia, a boat ride from the port town of Partageuse. For some odd years Partageuse had lived quietly and modestly. Then, in 1914 everything changed when its most highly coveted export was discovered. Men. “Young men. Fit men… Men who were the prime cut to be sacrificed on tactical altars a hemisphere away” (p. 17). Sons, husbands, brothers… all lost.

Isabel lost both of her brothers to the war. She grieves for them with Tom, the newcomer who she fancies. “Am I still a sister now that my brothers are gone?” She recounts how devastating it was for her parents as well, “There is a name for someone who loses a spouse, but not for someone who loses a child.”


She asks Tom about the war, but he does not wish to talk about it. She is so full of light; he dare not expose her to his inner darkness. His reticence eats at Isabel. He is such an enigma.

She bargains with him,”If I can’t talk about the past, am I allowed to talk about the future?”

“We can’t rightly talk about the future, if you think about it. We can only talk about what we imagine, or wish for.” Tom replies.

“OK what do you wish for, then?”

“Life. That’ll do me, I reckon.”

EFC 09 Soundtrack: “On The Sea” by Beach House (with footage from the film)

The Light Between Oceans

Release Date: September 2, 2016
Rated: PG-13

Director: Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine)
Writers: Derek Cianfrance (written for the screen by), M.L. Stedman (novel)
Stars: Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, Rachel Weisz

Editors: Jim Helton, Ron Patane
Cinematography: Adam Arkapaw
Music: Alexandre Desplat

The Inside OutSadness (42%)Anger (16%)Joy (11%)Fear (3%)Disgust (2%)Sadness for Elsa hugging Anna


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