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The Light between Oceans: Caught in a sea of heartbreak

By Damon Smith

Published 28/10/2016

Moral dilemma: Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander
Moral dilemma: Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander

Handkerchiefs at the ready for director Derek Cianfrance's handsome period romance based on the novel by ML Stedman about a childless couple, who wrestle with an agonising moral dilemma in the aftermath of the First World War.

Veteran Tom Sherbourne (Michael Fassbender) accepts a position as a lighthouse keeper on the coast of Western Australia, where he falls in love with local girl Isabel Graysmark (Alicia Vikander).

They marry, but their attempts to conceive end in heartbreak. After Isabel miscarries a second time, Tom stumbles upon a rowboat on the beach. In it are a dead man and a baby girl. Isabel persuades him to pass the infant off as their own, rather than condemn her to an orphanage. They name the girl Lucy.

This seemingly harmless plan backfires when Tom learns that the man might have been Frank Roennfeldt (Leon Ford), who disappeared with his daughter Grace, and left behind a widow called Hannah (Rachel Weisz).

Crippled by guilt, Tom writes to tell Hannah her baby daughter is safe, which sets in motion a chain of devastating events that threatens to destroy the Sherbournes' marriage.

Four stars

Belfast Telegraph

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