At First Glance: “The Light Between Oceans”

Dramatic films based on books are a welcome addition, even if the book is better. Without some of these adaptations of more obscure books, one wouldn’t know that such a brilliant author exists. Nor would we know hat they could tell such incredibly deep and complex stories. It not only shines a light on authors you’ve never heard of, or only a few things about, but also presents you with the chance to see a powerful, well made film, with a story that provides so much more than entertainment.

The upcoming Dreamworks Pictures and Touchstone Pictures film “The Light Between Oceans”, is already a deeply moving film with powerful performances sure to stay with audiences for some time.

This drama stars Michael Fassbender (upcoming “Assassin’s Creed”, “X-Men: Apocalypse”), Alicia Vikander (“Jason Bourne”, “The Danish Girl”), and Rachel Weisz (upcoming films “Complete Unknown”, “Denial”).

The film is written and directed by Derek Cianfrance (“The Place Beyond the Pines”, “Blue Valentine”). It is based on the novel of the same name by M.L. Stedman.

The film is expected to open on Sept. 2, 2016.
There’s a lot of things I can’t believe. That I haven’t written about this film until now, that I’ve never heard of the author of the original book, or how moved I am each and every time I watch a trailer or TV spot for this film. I’m excited for this film, and am desperately trying to figure out how I’m going to read this book. It sounds so good! As does the film of course, and it could end up being another one I have to wait several months to see. Having moved in the last three months, is apparently going to make it very difficult to see the types of films I saw last year. Hell, even just thinking about seeing them is even harder. I guess this is another thing that belongs on my list of things I can’t believe.

What I can believe, is how much of an emotional mess I and everyone else will be after we see this film. Like I said above, I’m always incredibly moved by this film. If a trailer that’s less than three minutes long can end with me having tears in my eyes, what the hell is the film going to do to me? For me, this is one indicator that this film has a lot of potential. This story is going to be based, hopefully, in a lot of real human drama. A lot of relatable ideas are clearly going to be on display, or I’m just hoping they are. There will be so much to think about when watching this film. I’ve discovered a few times of late, that film’s with moral questions arising, or other important issues, can in fact be just as compelling and important as characters or the given story you’ve paid to see. These issues could directly affect the characters and maybe even make it harder to like them as the film progresses.

Then, which is something us filmgoers do expect to see from time to time, great performances. I believe this film will also deliver. Or, like with Vikander’s most recent dramatic film, “The Danish Girl”, it could just be a decent film with very good chemistry and performances, but nothing truly special that will have you walking away utterly amazed. Again, this could just be me believing the amazing work done by whoever it was that cut the film’s trailer. I’ve discovered how annoying that is (ahem “Our Brand Is Crisis”).

The great performances look like they’ll also be lending to a few other things that will make this film good. Chemistry and character depth. The chemistry is evident. It’s on fire! It’s the kind that will, hopefully, fully draw you in and have you believing in Fassbender and Vikander’s love for each other. I was amazed at what I was seeing. It really does seem rare to get this kind of chemistry, but in this case it seems that it’s because there’s so much being demanded of these characters. Without this chemistry you can’t have the love, which means you can’t have the characters, and thus the story itself.

I mentioned character depth, which really could be filed under any title, so long as the focus is on the characters. This is a film I hope will be a character driven drama. If it is, you must be able to connect with them. Not simply like them, or feel for them, which I believe will be very easy to do, but essentially, you have to be them. The trials that these three characters will go through, which includes the chemistry dictated love between Fassbender and Vikander, will be what pulls you through this film. A dramatic film usually means little, or less than it’s supposed to, if you can’t get past just likable characters. Sometimes a dramatic film only succeeds when everything in the film is pitch perfect. Or, which seems to be a recurring thought when I think about this film, maybe I’m just expecting too much from this film. It’ll be what it is, which I still think will be one hell of an emotional experience.

The great thing about book adaptations, isn’t just he chance that a creative team can show how a film can be better than the book, but that you can be exposed to some author you’ve not yet read and that you can see original stories that wouldn’t otherwise be made. While I can debate all day long about why a film adaptation is or isn’t better than the book, I more often than not come away just being surprised. I’m surprised that such a story has been contained within the pages of a book all this time. Where have I been? How has it not been adapted before now?

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