A Tragic Cliché



A lighthouse keeper (Michael Fassbender) and his wife (Alicia Vikander) one day find a baby girl in a rowboat with her dead father — and decide to keep her without telling anyone. They grow to love her dearly, but find that their choice has repercussions that rapidly spiral out of control. It’s got a great cast, but we’re finding it a little formulaic, to say the least. The Light Between Oceans opens Sept. 2 in wide release.

NICOLE: Is this a jewelry commercial for Kay’s? Maybe it’s just me; I’m not really into romance movies.

JAMES: Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander played the two best cyborgs in recent movie history — David from Prometheus and Ava from Ex Machina. What is this warm-blooded crap? What are they doing on a perpetually dusky seaside cliff, writing love letters with fountain pens, taking long walks on golden hilltops? Oh, they’re going to be baby snatchers. That fits a little better.

PAIGE: At first I thought this was going to end up being hardcore British accent porn (one of my favorite genres) but then it got sad and depressing. What are the odds, though, that the baby that literally washes ashore at their lighthouse just so happens to belong to someone they know?

NICOLE: I was trying to think of where my morals lie in the course of this trailer. Do I think it’s right for them to keep the baby? I’m kind of verging on no, I don’t think it’s OK.

PAIGE: OK, I broke down and read a summary of the novel this is based on just now and this is probably going to be the most depressing movie of the year, and I predict everyone is going to win 8,000 Oscars. I will never watch it.

JAMES: A lot of this looks a little too classical — the sweeping cinematography of epic landscapes, backlit silhouettes brooding on a cliff, light pooling in through curtains. It feels a little too insular and remote, a little too romantic and heartbroken. A little too … sun-dappled and dewy. If there is a dark twist in there, it had better be good. Like that child is actually synthetic, and that entire landscape is a computer simulation being run by an alien race.

JAIMIE: Everything about the movie just seems generic. Generic couple who like, take this baby they find at sea. Generic weird things happening. If anything, this movie should have been a comedy — like that Disney channel original movie about the kid who gets found on the beach and then starts evolving into a merman when he turns 13. I’d much rather rewatch that gem again.