FIRST LOOK: A Lush , Can't Take Your Eyes Off 'The Light Between Oceans'

by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
FIRST LOOK: A Lush , Can't Take Your Eyes Off 'The Light Between Oceans'

Loneliness and grief has a strange bedfellow: Conscience .

On a remote Australian island following World War I , lighthouse keeper Tom Sherbourne (Michael Fassbender) and his wife, Isabel (Alicia Vikander), who has suffered two miscarriages, discover a two month old  child alive in a drifting vessel. Her dad has perished.  

"The Place Beyond the Pines," filmmaker Derek Cianfrance accents lovely David Lean inspired seascapes, clashing wave majesty, and haunting piano notes for a artsy period love story that segues into an ethical swoon into choices.

Tom and Isabel evolve into emotional contrasts. She persuades Tom to not report the child, leading to a sins will find you out path, in which the babe will eventually be returned  her biological mother (Rachel Weisz).

Alicia Vikander and Michael Fassbender have been dating in real life for two years (and the film has been on the shelf too). During that interim both have potential Best Actor and Best Actress nominations. Vikander's career has been soaring following a Best Supporting Actress win for "Danish Girl" and a strong performance in "Jason Bourne." Fassbender upped his stock through his "X Men Apocalypse" role, a best actor nom for "Steve Jobs, and he will star in the Holiday tentpole, "Assassins Creed."

The isolation surges a reliance upon near silence for intertwining considerable chemistry , especially for Fassbender who caves to his wife's persistence. His character wallowed in post war depression so a stoically clenched jaw equates his guilt dealing that rises in paradise like a "Tell Tale Heart." 

By contrast, Vikander's wispy tears and slight chin quiver firmly believes "it's my baby," presenting viewers with an  impending Solomon like choice.

Cianfrance steers this moral conundrum in a nearly neutral perspective; otherwise, we'd openly see a hankie or two and hear a few weeps from the audience. There's a fragile near "Somewhere in Time" bliss overridden by small community "Stella Dallas" woes.  A unmentionable spoiler or two contain vague awkwardness that weaken brash melodrama.

Yet, the heart strings tug often in ways only a mom could feel.

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