THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS (2016) 5 stars out of 5


The-Light-Between-Oceans-movie-posterSwedish actress Alicia Vikander won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar earlier this year for her portrayal of painter Gerda Wegener in THE DANISH GIRL (2015). I would not be surprised if she receives a Best Actress Oscar nomination this year for her performance in THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS (2016).

Miss Vikander is in good acting company, with two-time Academy Award nominee Michael Fassbender (12 YEARS A SLAVE and STEVE JOBS) and Oscar winner Rachel Weisz. (THE CONSTANT GARDENER). Outstanding performances by all three actors is the primary reason why this film is so profoundly moving. And profoundly disturbing.

Credit the film’s strong direction from Derek Cianfrance — who also wrote the powerful screenplay based on the best selling novel by M.L. Stedman. This is not an easy film to sit through. Set on the remote western edge of Western Australia in the years following the end of World War I, it is easy to be swept away by the sheer beauty of the landscapes and the sea. The cinematography is gorgeous. Credit Adam Arkapaw. And there is the music. With four months left in 2016, I am already convinced that the most difficult Academy Awards nomination category this year will be musical scoring. Film Composer Alexandre Desplat is responsible. He has already been nominated for 7 Academy Awards and won the Oscar for the score of THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL.

That is my review in a nutshell. Acting. Direction. Screenplay. Cinematography and Musical Score. A beautiful beginning to this year’s Fall movies.

I abhor giving away the twisst and turns of any movie plot. My reviews do not ever need to carry a spoiler alert. But I am happy to share the key words that were written on my screening notepad for THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS.

  • War and Peace.
  • Loss and Solace.
  • Love and romance.
  • Morality and Immorality.
  • The decisions we make.
  • The regrets we live with.
  • Truth, Justice and Peace.



“One of the truly great talents of our time”. (Mel Brooks tweet)

I tried to find the right words to write a fitting tribute to acknowledge the passing — and to honor the man. I finally found the most meaningful sentence in an article written by Wesley Morris in the New York Times (August 30, 2016).

“Mr. Wilder doesn’t have many comedy descendants. He was too much of an original to copy. With blue eyes that big, and hair that untamed, who else could he be?”.

How is it possible that Mr. Wilder only made just under two dozen films. Today, my heart feels the same intense loss that I felt when Walt Disney died some fifty years ago this December. Each of these giants in the motion picture business brought magic and pixie dust to my life, first as a kid in college and now as a “senior citizen”. The impact of “When you wish upon a star” remains both in my heart and in my soul — when I hear the voice of Gene Wilder sing the immortal words from Willie Wonka (Pure Imagination):

“Come with me and you’ll be In a world of pure imagination. Take a look and you’ll see Into your imagination.”

It is also hard to believe that his only acting Oscar nomination came in his first starring role — as Leo Bloom in THE PRODUCERS (1968). His only other Oscar nomination came in the “Writing Adapted Screenplay” category for YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974).

Thank you Mr. Wilder — not only for YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, but for WILLY WONKA & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (1971); BLAZING SADDLES (1974); SILVER STREAK (1976); THE FRISCO KID (1979); and STIR CRAZY (1980).

Heaven is a lot funnier today with you now in it. Please say hello to Zero Mostel and Richard Pryor for me. Billy Wilder too. And give Gilda Radnar a kiss on the cheek from all of us.

He died last Sunday at the age of 83, from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. He was diagnosed with the disease but kept the condition private so as not to disappoint his fans. Mr. Wilder, you never did.


Next Friday, “Bob Fisher at the Movies” will review one of the most anticipated Fall films. SULLY (2016) is directed by Clint Eastwood and stars Tom Hanks. The film is carrying a lot of buzz.

On Wednesday evening, September 14, 2016, six different Las Vegas movie theaters will host an exclusive one-night FATHOM event. “SNOWDEN LIVE” will give our local movie audiences the first chance to see the highly anticipated film, SNOWDEN, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and directed by Oliver Stone.

The film will then be followed with a live on-screen conversation between Edward Snowden and filmmaker Oliver Stone. Tickets can be purchased online by visiting

See my Coming Soon page for more upcoming movies, trailers and release dates.


Spread the word. Share this post!