As "The Light Between Oceans" opens, Tom has just fetched up in a coastal Australian town in order to replace the light keeper who's convalescing, a prologue eerily reminiscent of "The Shining," with its intimations of death and madness.
But where the tale could easily accommodate the moody conventions of gothic horror, Stedman and Cianfrance instead embrace its fable-like lyricism and dewy-eyed tragedy: In time, Tom takes Isabel (Alicia Vikander) - a comely, refreshingly direct local girl - as his wife, and they repair to his little island for an enchanted honeymoon period.
But he's hemmed in by material that's not only dubiously equivocating but structurally ungainly, especially when another love story emerges to compete with the idealized portrait of Tom and Isabel's marital devotion.
At just over two hours, "The Light Between Oceans" feels lugubrious and too long, but also oddly perfunctory, especially when it comes to Weisz's story line and the character who emerges as the film's unlikely moral center.
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