Not one car chase. Not one shootout. Only a glorious film that deals with conscience, the consequences of violating one’s conscience when swayed by love for another, a willingness to suffer on behalf of the one you love even when misunderstood by that loved one, and the spiritual release that comes from confession and forgiveness. Put that all together and combine it with stunning visual beauty and superb acting, and you have one of the most compelling movies I’ve seen in some time.
While I like a lot of movies—after all, my undergraduate degree was in radio, tv, and film production—only rarely do I leave a theater thinking as deeply as I did after viewing The Light Between Oceans.
Bare bones plot:
An emotionally scarred Australian man returns from WWI seeking solitude, so he takes a lonely job as the only person on a small island tending a very important lighthouse situated between the Pacific and Indian oceans.
A young woman who has lost both of her brothers in the war helps him come to grips with his war experience, they marry, and now the two of them are the only inhabitants of that island.
The marriage is healing for both of them but she suffers from two miscarriages, thereby creating emotional trauma for both. Then a small boat washes ashore. In it is a dead man and a newborn baby girl needing love and care. Do they try to find out if there is a mother somewhere or do they take the child and raise her themselves?
The decision they make leads to the litany I described above: matters of conscience, sacrifice, and forgiveness.
I won’t go any further in laying out the plot. If you have been looking for a film that demonstrates the love of God and love for another, a film that forces people to grapple with heartbreaking decisions and whether to forgive, let me suggest that this is the film for you.
Christian faith is an important element in the story. Ultimate decisions are based on that faith. Needless to say, I heartily recommend The Light Between Oceans.