Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander will soon enter the race for Academy Awards later this month for their roles in Steve Jobs and The Danish Girl, respectively, though thanks to Disney and DreamWorks’ move to peg Derek Cianfrance’s The Light Between Oceans for September 2, the pair already have an early contender for next year’s race.
As the director behind The Place Beyond the Pines and heartfelt drama Blue Valentine, Cianfrance’s period drama has been attracting its fair share of pre-release buzz, and while Steve Jobs and The Danish Girl effectively pushed production back, the filmmaker’s upcoming adaptation has plot course for an awards-friendly release.
Also starring Rachel Weisz, The Light Between Oceans places Fassbender as an ageing lighthouse keeper, who struggles with his wife (Vikander) to fulfil their dream of parenthood following a stillbirth and numerous miscarriages. Luck suddenly begins to shine in the pair’s favor, though, when a boat washes up on their remote Australian island bearing a dead man and a young baby girl, and it isn’t long before the besotted couple adopt the child as though she was their own.
Set during the fallout of World War I, here’s the official synopsis of M.L. Stedman’s novel:
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.
The Light Between Oceans will set sail for theaters on September 2.