Based on a best selling novel by M.L. Stedman, the story is set on the remote edge of Western Australia in the years after World War I.
Tom (Fassbender), an emotionally battered survivor of the First World War, takes a job as keeper of the lighthouse off the coast of this isolated
The first part of the film dealing with Tom and Isabel’s courtship and early marriage is admittedly slow, although saved by the fine performances of its principal actors and the beautiful filming of the barren but impressive Australian landscape (actually largely filmed in New Zealand). But once we get to the emotional heart of the story and the moral conflict of that, it is totally absorbing. Fassbender gives another fine performance as the tortured husband and Vikander (so good in “Testament of Youth”) yet again demonstrates her emotional range from the vivacious young bride to the possessive and desperate love of a woman for the child she now regards as hers. There is a moving performance too from Weisz, who turns out to be the moral heart of the film.
Strong supporting performances include Australian veterans Jack Thompson and Bryan Brown, the latter in a disappointingly small role as Hannah’s father. The film also effectively evokes both the look and the inflexible attitudes of the small and isolated Australian community in the twenties.
Take plenty of tissues with you. This is a real tear jerker.