The Light Between Oceans (film)

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The Light Between Oceans
The Light Between Oceans poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Derek Cianfrance
Produced by
Screenplay by Derek Cianfrance
Based on The Light Between Oceans
by M. L. Stedman
Starring
Music by Alexandre Desplat
Cinematography Adam Arkapaw
Edited by
  • Jim Helton
  • Ron Patane
Production
companies
Distributed by
Release date
  • September 1, 2016 (2016-09-01) (Venice)
  • September 2, 2016 (2016-09-02) (United States)
  • November 1, 2016 (2016-11-01) (United Kingdom)
Running time
132 minutes[1]
Country
  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
Language English
Budget $20 million[2]
Box office $26 million[2]

The Light Between Oceans is a 2016 romantic period drama film written and directed by Derek Cianfrance and based on the 2012 novel of the same name by M. L. Stedman. An international co-production between the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand, the film stars Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, Rachel Weisz, Bryan Brown, and Jack Thompson. The film tells the story of a lighthouse keeper and his wife who rescue and adopt an infant girl adrift at sea. Years later, the couple discovers the child's true parentage and are faced with the moral dilemma of their actions.

The Light Between Oceans had its world premiere at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival on September 1, 2016,[3] where it competed for the Golden Lion.[4] The film was released by Touchstone Pictures in North America on September 2, 2016,[5] being the last DreamWorks Pictures film distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures through their 2011 output deal.[6] The film was released in the United Kingdom on November 1, 2016, by Entertainment One Films.[7] It received mixed reviews and grossed $26 million worldwide.[8]

Plot[edit]

Tom Sherbourne, a traumatised and withdrawn hero of World War I, is hired as a lightkeeper at Janus Rock, a lighthouse off the coast of Western Australia. He falls in love with a local girl, Isabel Graysmark, and they marry in 1921. Isabel loses two pregnancies in three years and fears she may never become a mother.

Shortly after Isabel's second miscarriage, a rowboat containing a dead man and a newborn baby girl washes ashore near the lighthouse. Tom knows that regulations require him to report the discovery. However, Isabel fears that the baby will almost certainly be sent to an orphanage and persuades Tom to pass the baby off as their own. Tom grudgingly agrees. He buries the man on the island, and the couple names the girl Lucy.

As Tom and Isabel are about to have Lucy christened on the mainland, Tom sees a woman, Hannah Roennfeldt, kneeling in front of a grave bearing the names of Frank Roennfeldt and his baby daughter Grace Ellen, who were lost at sea on the day they found Lucy, 26 April 1923. Tom fears that Lucy might very well be Hannah's missing daughter. He writes anonymously to Hannah to tell her that her husband is dead but that her baby is safe and well cared-for.

Four years later, Tom, Isabel, and Lucy, who have enjoyed an idyllic life together, attend a ceremony for the anniversary of Tom's lighthouse, and they strike up a conversation with Hannah and her sister, Gwen Potts. They learn that Frank was a German, that Hannah's marrying him so soon after the First World War was controversial, and that he had been accosted in the street by a drunken crowd. He jumped into a rowboat and fled with his baby daughter.

Tormented by his conscience, Tom sends Hannah a small rattle that was found with Lucy on the boat. One of Tom's co-workers recognizes the rattle on a reward poster and reports him to the police.

Tom takes full responsibility, claiming he bullied Isabel into complying. Isabel is enraged that Tom is willing to give Lucy away and breaks off contact with him after his arrest. Lucy is returned to her birth family but initially rejects and hates them, having no memory of them. She refuses to answer to "Grace" and even runs away in an effort to return to the lighthouse.

The police accuse Tom of murdering Frank and are unable to draw an answer from the distraught Isabel as to whether or not Frank was dead when they discovered him. Lucy runs away to look for the lighthouse, and a search team is sent to rescue her. She is found and returned to Hannah, but the events lead Hannah to realize that Lucy now belongs to Isabel.

Hannah promises to return Lucy to Isabel as soon as Isabel testifies against Tom. Just as Tom is about to be taken by boat to Albany for trial, Isabel reads a letter which Tom had sent her, confiding he had not deserved his happiness with Lucy and how carrying the blame will assuage his guilt for surviving the war.

Isabel jumps on the boat and confesses everything. Moved by their gesture and reminded by Frank's words to always forgive others, Hannah offers to speak on their behalf at trial. Lucy has at last begun to bond with her biological mother and grandfather, who agrees to call her "Lucy-Grace" as a compromise.

In 1950, an adult Lucy-Grace Rutherford, accompanied by her baby son Christopher, tracks Tom down. She has not been in contact with the Sherbournes for over twenty years, as they had agreed not to contact her for the rest of her childhood. Isabel has recently died, still tormented with guilt for her actions, and Tom gives Lucy-Grace a letter that Isabel had written in case Lucy ever made contact. An emotional Lucy-Grace thanks Tom, the only father she knew, for rescuing and raising her for the few years on Janus, and they promise to stay in touch.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

DreamWorks acquired the rights to the novel on November 27, 2012, with David Heyman and Jeffrey Clifford producing through Heyday Films.[9] DreamWorks approached Derek Cianfrance at the behest of Steven Spielberg, who was impressed by Cianfrance's Blue Valentine.[10] In September 2013, Cianfrance was announced to direct the film.[11] In May 2014, Michael Fassbender was announced in the film.[12] In June 2014, Alicia Vikander joined the cast of the film,[13] followed by Rachel Weisz in July 2014.[13][14][15] Participant Media joined the production in August 2014.[16]

Filming[edit]

The Light Between Oceans film location, George Street, Port Chalmers, New Zealand

Principal photography started in September 2014, with filming locations in New Zealand and Australia.[17][18][19] Filming took place in Dunedin, Port Chalmers[20] and on the Otago Peninsula, Saint Bathans in Central Otago and at the Cape Campbell Lighthouse in Marlborough.[21] Filming sites included the former Dunedin Prison in Dunedin[22] and Stuart Street at the former King Edward Technical College building.[23]

Footage aboard a steam train was filmed in October inside a refurbished wooden "bird cage" passenger carriage from the Pleasant Point Railway in South Canterbury. Mainline Steam Heritage Trust used Ja 1240 "Jessica" for the movie and it was transferred from the trust's Christchurch depot to Dunedin for filming to take place.[22][23] While the scene in which the locomotive is used was set in 1918, locomotive Ja 1240 was built in 1947 and was the second New Zealand Railways JA class locomotive to be built. Built at New Zealand Railways Hillside workshops in Dunedin it ran exclusively in the South Island of New Zealand from 1947 until 1971.

In November the production moved to Australia and filming began in Stanley, Tasmania[24] where the crews transformed some locations in the town including the pier, which was refurbished, and the road, which was covered in gravel.[25][26] Production wrapped on November 24, 2014.[27]

Post-production[edit]

Cianfrance spent a year editing the film, with little breaks in between[28] with the first cut of the film ending up at 2 hours and 20 minutes.[29]

Release[edit]

The Light Between Oceans held its world premiere at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival on September 1, 2016.[30][31] The film was distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures through the Touchstone Pictures banner, being the last DreamWorks film to be released under the original agreement with Walt Disney Studios.[32][33][34] Disney released the film in the United States on September 2, 2016.[35] Disney opted not to give the film a limited release, a method often used by studios for adult dramas, and instead issued the film in general wide release at 1,500 locations with focus on upscale venues.[36]

Disney also distributed The Light Between Oceans overseas, except for territories in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, where distribution was handled by Mister Smith Entertainment through other third-party film distributors;[37] Entertainment One Films in the United Kingdom,[38] Reliance in India, Arthouse in Russia,[39] Eagle Pictures in Italy,[40] and Phantom Film in Japan.

The Light Between Oceans was released by Touchstone Home Entertainment on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital download on January 24, 2017.[41]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

The Light Between Oceans grossed $12.5 million in North America and $13.3 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $26 million, against a budget of $20 million.[2]

In the United States, the film was released on September 2, 2016, alongside Morgan, and was projected to gross $6–9 million from around 1,500 theaters in its opening weekend.[42][43] It grossed $1.4 million on its first day and $4.8 million in its opening weekend, finishing 6th at the box office.[44]

Critical response[edit]

The Light Between Oceans received mixed reviews from critics.[8] On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 59%, based on 205 reviews, with an average rating of 6.2/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "The Light Between Oceans presents a well-acted and handsomely mounted adaptation of its bestselling source material, but ultimately tugs on the heartstrings too often to be effective."[45] On Metacritic, the film has an average score of 60 out of 100, based on 44 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[46] According to CinemaScore, audiences gave the film an average grade of "B+", on an A+ to F scale.[47]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Light Between Oceans (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved August 1, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c "The Light Between Oceans (2016)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 7, 2017. 
  3. ^ "The Light Between Oceans". Venice Film Festival. Archived from the original on August 28, 2016. Retrieved August 30, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Venice Film Festival 2016". Deadline Hollywood. 28 July 2016. Retrieved 28 July 2016. 
  5. ^ McClintock, Pamela (February 9, 2016). "Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander's 'Light Between Oceans' Lands Fall Release Date". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 10, 2016. 
  6. ^ McNary, Dave (August 31, 2016). "Box Office: 'Don't Breathe' to Top Newcomers in Slow Labor Day Weekend". Variety. Retrieved September 7, 2016. 
  7. ^ Cranswick, Amie (July 7, 2016). "First poster for The Light Between Oceans starring Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander". Flickering Myth. Retrieved July 7, 2016. 
  8. ^ a b "'The Light Between Oceans' Critical Roundup: Derek Cianfrance's Melodrama Leaves Reviewers at Sea". IndieWire. 
  9. ^ "DreamWorks Acquiring Debut Novel 'The Light Between Oceans'". Deadline Hollywood. November 27, 2012. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  10. ^ Galuppo, Mia (September 2, 2016). "'The Light Between Oceans' Director Talks Living on an Island With Alicia Vikander, Michael Fassbender". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 7, 2016. 
  11. ^ "Derek Cianfrance To Direct DreamWorks Adaptation 'The Light Between Oceans'". Deadline Hollywood. September 3, 2013. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  12. ^ http://www.empireonline.com/movies/news/michael-fassbender-finds-light-oceans/
  13. ^ a b "Alicia Vikander Landing Leads In 'Light Between Oceans' And 'Danish Girl'". Deadline Hollywood. June 19, 2014. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Rachel Weisz joins Michael Fassbender in Derek Cianfrance's 'The Light Between Oceans'". slashfilm.com. May 14, 2014. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Rachel Weisz in Talks to Join Michael Fassbender in 'Light Between Oceans'". thewrap.com. July 10, 2014. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Participant Joins DreamWorks On Spielberg Cold War Pic & 'The Light Between Oceans'". Deadline Hollywood. 
  17. ^ "The Light Between Oceans Filming Locations". IMDB. IMDB. Retrieved 11 September 2016. 
  18. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (August 12, 2014). "DreamWorks Sets Fall Start For 'Light Between Oceans' With Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, Rachel Weisz". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 13, 2014. 
  19. ^ "X-Men star heads to Marlborough". stuff.co.nz. 
  20. ^ Loughrey, David (October 28, 2014). "'Incredibly valuable' - City, surrounds lure film-makers". odt.co.nz. Retrieved November 18, 2014. 
  21. ^ Elder, Vaughan (September 12, 2014). "'Major' film coup for Otago". odt.co.nz. Retrieved September 16, 2014. 
  22. ^ a b Elder, Vaughan (October 23, 2014). "Busy time for film support crew". odt.co.nz. Retrieved November 3, 2014. 
  23. ^ a b "Lights, camera, action". odt.co.nz. October 30, 2014. Retrieved November 18, 2014. 
  24. ^ Sargent, Aryelle (November 14, 2014). "Dreamworks film brings set to Stanley". theadvocate.com.au. Retrieved November 18, 2014. 
  25. ^ Sargent, Aryelle (November 14, 2014). "Stanley transformed". theadvocate.com.au. Retrieved November 18, 2014. 
  26. ^ Dadson, Manika (November 14, 2014). "Stanley abuzz as filming nears". examiner.com.au. Retrieved November 18, 2014. 
  27. ^ "On the Set for 11/24/14: Natalie Portman Wraps Up Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Point Break Swims to Shore & More". SSN Insider. November 24, 2014. Retrieved August 30, 2016. 
  28. ^ Weintraub, Steve (September 1, 2016). "Derek Cianfrance on 'Light Between Oceans', the Lengthy Editing Process, the Release Date, and More". Collider. Retrieved September 4, 2016. 
  29. ^ McGovern, Joe (August 13, 2016). "The Light Between Oceans director on Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander: 'The movie witnessed love'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 4, 2016. 
  30. ^ Ritman, Alex (July 28, 2016). "Venice Film Festival Unveils Lineup for 73rd Edition". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 28, 2016. 
  31. ^ "The Light Between Oceans". Venice Film Festival. Archived from the original on August 28, 2016. Retrieved September 7, 2016. 
  32. ^ McNary, Dave (February 9, 2016). "Michael Fassbender-Alicia Vikander Drama 'Light Between Oceans' Gets September Release". Variety. Retrieved February 10, 2016. 
  33. ^ Pamela McClintock; Gregg Kilday (December 16, 2015). "Steven Spielberg, Jeff Skoll Team to Form Amblin Partners, Strike Distribution Deal With Universal". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 22, 2015. 
  34. ^ "DreamWorks Studios, Participant Media, Reliance Entertainment and Entertainment One Form Amblin Partners, a New Film, Television and Digital Content Creation Company" (Press release). Business Wire. Universal City, California. December 16, 2015. Retrieved December 23, 2015. Film projects in various stages of production include: “The BFG,” and “The Light Between Oceans,” scheduled for release by Disney in 2016. 
  35. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (February 9, 2016). "Oscar Bait Fassbender-Vikander Film 'The Light Between Oceans' Dated For Next Awards Season". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 10, 2016. 
  36. ^ D' Alessandro, Anthony (September 6, 2016). "'Light Between Oceans' Opens Soft: Did Disney Dump Final DreamWorks Release?". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 7, 2016. 
  37. ^ Barraclough, Leo (May 8, 2015). "David Garrett, Ralpho Borgos Hope to Take Mr. Smith Shingle to the Summit". Variety. Retrieved February 15, 2016. 
  38. ^ Woburn, Dan (February 24, 2016). "First Trailer For Oscar 2017 Favourite The Light Between Oceans". What Culture. Retrieved June 1, 2016. 
  39. ^ Williams, Emma (March 31, 2016). "Michael Fassbender-Alicia Vikander drama sells to Russia". Screendaily.com. Retrieved April 4, 2016. 
  40. ^ Tosini, Matteo (August 24, 2016). "Venezia 73: Michael Fassbender e Alicia Vikander nel trailer italiano di La Luce sugli Oceani". Bad Taste. Retrieved August 30, 2016. 
  41. ^ "Epic Romance 'The Light Between Oceans' Hits Blu-ray In January 2". November 2, 2016. Retrieved November 7, 2016. 
  42. ^ "'Don't Breathe' likely to beat 'Light Between Oceans' and 'Morgan' in Labor Day box office". LosAngelesTimes.com. 
  43. ^ "Labor Day Box Office Offers Few Options With 'Morgan', 'Light Between Oceans'". Deadline Hollywood. 
  44. ^ "Don't Breathe' Still Has Oxygen, 'Suicide Squad' Seizes $300M+, 'Morgan' D.O.A. : Labor Day Weekend B.O. – Saturday Update". Deadline Hollywood. 
  45. ^ "The Light Between Oceans (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved March 5, 2018. 
  46. ^ "The Light Between Oceans Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 11, 2016. 
  47. ^ "CinemaScore". CinemaScope. 

External links[edit]