Writer/director Derek Cianfrance only has three feature films to his name, but with the one-two punch of Blue Valentine and The Place Beyond the Pines, he proved himself a director capable of, not only stunning visual cinema, but gut-twisting emotional drama that eschews all easy answers. Today brings a new trailer for his adaptation of M.L. Stedman’s novel The Light Between Oceans starring Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander as Tom and Isabel Sherbourne, a devoted pair of lovers who are faced with the unfortunate reality that they can’t bear a child. When a boat washes up on their local shore with a dead man and a living baby inside, the Sherbournes are placed in the moral quandary between finally having their wish and doing the right thing (ie turning the baby over to the authorities). Against, Tom’s better judgement, they keep and raise the baby, a choice that comes back to haunt them years later when they see first-hand the devastation their decision has caused.
This looks like another emotionally grueling but completely gorgeous effort from Cianfrance, and while I’m not entirely sympathetic to their plight (you can’t play finders keepers with babies, that’s just kidnapping), I’m certain that Cianfrance will endow their journey with a devastating honesty and nuance. And with Vikander and Fassbender in the leads, you can bet the performances will be equal to the task at hand.
Watch the new trailer below.
Here’s the book’s synopsis (via Amazon):
After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.
Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.