I was excited to see this for two reasons. My girlfriend was really excited to see it, and it was done by director Derek Cianfrance. He gave us one of my favorite movies of the last 20 years — Blue Valentine (Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams). He did another movie with Gosling that was pretty good — The Place Beyond the Pines. So, he’s taking Australian writer M.L. Stedman’s debut, best-selling novel and…turning it into a Nicholas Sparks movie!!!
Five-year war veteran Tom Sherbourne (Michael Fassbender) takes a job as a lighthouse keeper off the coast of Australia. He’s warned that he might get lonely, but he’s looking forward to the solitude. Well, that’s until he meets Isabel (Alicia Vikander) very early into his stint. She looked so young, I had a hard time buying the premise that her parents would be so thrilled with a much older suitor. The courtship also seems rushed. There are letters sent, and a picnic. Then they’re getting married. It all happened within six months, but was shown happening in about 10 minutes on screen.
She has two miscarriages, and they break your heart. So, it’s perfect timing to have a baby wash up on their shore while she’s laying in the grass grieving.
The baby is with a father who is dead, and this is where the movie loses me. The characters immediately start making bad decisions. I won’t spoil them for you, and will only tell you stuff that’s revealed in the commercials/trailers.
The couple has chemistry (they should, they started dating in real life during the making of this picture). The costumes and setting are gorgeous, and the whole thing is handsomely shot.
Rachel Weisz has an interesting role as the biological mother, and she’s great.
She’s in another movie opening this weekend (Complete Unknown, review to follow). Neither are worth rushing out to see.
It’s a film where characters all use poor logic. It’s a bunch of A-list actors, doing a Lifetime TV movie.
It’s poorly paced, and the melodramatic stuff shouldn’t have just been showing Tom’s face. We needed a few less scenes with him, and a few more with Weisz.
I also didn’t find it to be all that romantic.
It gets 2 stars out of 5, mostly for gorgeous cinematography.