The Light Between Oceans

by Carla Renata for The Curvy Film Critic.com and UBNRadio.com

When I learned Academy Award winners Rachel Weisz and Alicia Vikander and 12 Years A Slave/Steve Jobs nominee Michael Fassbender had a film release based on the novel of one of my favorite writers M.L. Stedman, I knew this was a must see.

Stedman’s “The Light Between Oceans” was published in the U.S. in July 2012. Immediately embraced by readers and critics alike, it landed on both The New York Times and USA Today’s bestseller lists, as well as,  Amazon’s Best Book of the Month for August of that year. Since then, it has been translated into over 35 languages.

Having said that, I often thought that the "light" referred to the lighthouse, which is a staple fixture of symbolism in the novel and the film.  However, after seeing the film I realized the  "light" symbolizes love, loss and the secrets that bubble to the surface.

You know that old saying..."What's done in the dark comes to light"?  Well, baby what comes to light in this film affects everyone on-screen and is emotionally wrenching.  It just goes to show you that love is an emotion that sometimes transcend all reason and common sense.  After all, you only have to forgive once.  Resentment takes too much work.

Michael Fassbender as Lighthouse keeper Tom Sherbourne is a tortured soul.  When asked about Tom, the actor commented, “These things happen in life where you have to make a choice that has no simple or right answer. The story’s not about judging who is good and who is bad. It’s really about how we deal with the outcomes of our choices, and to me that is what defines us as human beings."  Fassbender is a chameleon when it comes to inhabiting characters, which is the thing great actors are made of.  His vulnerability is admirable, yet sad and pathetic all at once.  I adore him.

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Alicia Vikander as Isabel is beautiful, spirited and determined.  Very much like her character from her Oscar-winning turn in The Danish Girl, complete with tears.  I love her, but Im'ma need her to do a drama without crying through the whole film.

Rachel Weisz was right on the money as Hannah Roennfeldt.  Every emotion she spoke through her actions and not necessarily with words.  Like Vikander, most of her scenes were extremely emotionally heart-wrenching.  Weisz is a class-act and one of her most intense scenes comes in Hannah’s first face-to-face encounter with Isabel after her daughter (Lucy)returns. “It’s two devoted mothers facing off,” describes Weisz, “And it’s highly charged.”

Set in a remote part Western Australia, following the devastation of the Great War, the imagery is absolutely gorgeous and made me want to go find a lighthouse on the beach to live in far away from the noise of today's society.

The Light Between Oceans is a beautiful love story of relationships and what one does when faced with a choice to do the right thing...or not.  Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures for Dreamworks, The Light Between Oceans is released in a theatre near you on September 2nd.

https://youtu.be/w51IR_BFGyc

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THE DANISH GIRL

THE DANISH GIRL review via Carla Renata's Corner and UBNRadio.com With Glamour magazines latest announcement of  Caitlyn Jenner being named Woman of the Year,  it suffices to pose the question about how Lili Elbe would have survived in a world that on a daily basis is becoming more and more accepting of the transgender community.

Director Tom Hooper and Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne have teamed up and the results are electric!  Based on David Ebershoff novel of the same name and screenplay by Lucinda Coxon, The Danish Girl is showing a softer, more vulnerable characterization of Eddie Redmayne as the real-life transgender pioneer Lile Elbe, all while revealing the love story with Lili"s (Einar) wife Gerda (lovingly played by Alicia Vikander.

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In 1926, Lili Elbe, a very successful painter living in Copenhagen, underwent one of the first known reconstructive procedures to surgically remove her penis, replace it with a vagina and begin the journey to complete her transformation as a woman.  We watch as Lili (formerly Einar) becomes ridiculed, beaten and gets used to dressing in women's clothes, makeup and how Gerda (as helpful and supportive as she is) has a hard time letting go of Einar and embracing Lili.

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It's safe to say that Redmayne has secured a spot as a Best Actor nominee with this performance.  Just as with his award-winning performance in The Theory of Everything, Redmayne has studied all the nuances of being a female to make his portrayal totally believable from the very first moment he slides those thigh-highs on to pose for a painting to his very last breath as Lilli.

As his better half Gerda, Alicia Vikander is a having a great year in film, having starred in both The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and  Ex Machina.  She better get that red carpet dress ready because she is going to be a very busy girl this awards season.  Her choice of not making Gerda bitter is brilliant and  makes the film and her character so much richer and interesting to watch.

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Opening in theaters around Thanksgiving, The Danish Girl is fascinating, entertaining and heartbreaking -- you'll love it!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d88APYIGkjk