Reel Rating: 4 out of 5 Reels

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic material and some sexual content

Released in Theaters: Sept. 2, 2016

Best for Ages: 15+

Genre: Drama, Romance

Runtime: 130 minutes

Directed by: Derek Cianfrance

Studio: Buena Vista

Cast: Alicia Vikander, Michael Fassbender, Rachel Weisz

MOVIE SYNOPSIS: This romantic drama based on M.L. Stedman’s best-selling novel stars Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander as lighthouse keepers on a remote island caught in an impossible situation.

MOVIE REVIEW: Romantic, heartbreaking, and epic all describe The Light Between Oceans, a sweeping film based on M.L. Stedman's best-selling novel. Michael Fassbender stars as Tom, a World War I veteran who takes a position as a lighthouse keeper on the isolated island Janus Rock, off the coast of Australia.

After the horrors of war, Tom looks forward to finding some peace of mind on the remote island. Then he meets Isabelle (Alicia Vikander), who lives with her family on Point Partageuse, the nearest land to Janus Rock. The two fall in love and get married, with dreams of raising a family in the lighthouse’s idyllic location.

But parenthood eludes them, as Isabelle suffers not one, but two painful miscarriages, leaving the couple heartbroken. Then Tom spots a boat floating in the middle of the sea. He brings the boat into shore and finds a deceased man and a baby girl very much alive. Tom wants to report the baby to the authorities, but Isabelle feels this is a gift from God, and pleads with him to keep the baby and raise it as their own -- which he does, reluctantly.

For several years, they raise baby Lucy and live a happy life on the remote island. But on one of their visits to Isabelle's family, Tom encounters a woman (Rachel Weisz) who might be connected to the baby. Tom and Isabelle disagree on what they should do, but either path leads to guilt and heartbreak.

You can't go wrong with director Derek Cianfrance (The Place Beyond the Pines, Blue Valentine) paired with the excellent acting skills of Fassbender, Vikander, and Weisz. (As a side note, this movie is also the one where Fassbender and Vikander fell in love in real life.)

Like Cianfrance’s other films, The Light Between Oceans is moody and dramatic, only with more sweeping cinematography -- in this case, of the gorgeous Australian landscape and ocean. Cianfrance makes sure we’re fully invested in Tom and Isabelle as characters before upending their happy life for a grief-stricken, uncertain future.

This movie is not for the faint of heart. It’s rated PG-13, but with themes of profound grief and intimacy torn apart, I’m going with kids aged 15 and older on this one. But it’s also a really beautiful film that’s worth a look -- if you can handle the heartbreaking moments.

PARENT OVERVIEW: Like M.L. Stedman’s book upon which this film is based, expect a heartbreaking series of events, including miscarriages (some blood is shown), several deaths, and a storm that leaves a man dead and his child alone in a boat. This film is pretty gloomy overall, with themes of grief, death, marriage, motherhood, morals, and xenophobia. Romance includes a few sensual sex scenes with brief nudity (bottom, side of breast), as well as a scene in which Australians treat a German harshly and a moment where a child appears to be in danger.

PARENT DETAILS (May Contain Spoilers):
Violence/Gore: A woman’s two miscarriages are depicted as heartbreaking and painful; blood is shown. The babies are buried; no bodies are shown, but we see the tiny crosses on the graves. A dead man is discovered in a boat; his corpse is shown briefly and then buried. Australians treat a German harshly after WWI. A child disappears and appears to be harmed.

Sex/Nudity: A married couple is shown in bed, and it’s clear the wife is having sex for the first time. Brief nudity includes the side of a woman’s breast and her backside.

Profanity: None.

Drugs/Alcohol: Adults drink socially.

JANE’S REEL RATING SYSTEM:

One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.

Two Reels – Coulda been a contender

Three Reels – Something to talk about.

Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!

Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.
Jane Boursaw is the film critic and editor-in-chief of Reel Life With Jane. Contact her at jboursaw@charter.net. Images in this review used courtesy of the studio and distributor.
Coming attractions for kids and teens
New movies in October for kids and teens include tales of middle school, extraterrestrials, and ancient symbols. Here’s a sneak peek at all the new movies for kids and teens in October. Note that release dates are subject to change.
MIDDLE SCHOOL: THE WORST YEARS OF MY LIFE
Rated PG for rude humor throughout, language, and thematic elements | In Theaters 10/7 | Ok for Kids 8+ | Lionsgate, CBS Films | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels

Rafe has an epic imagination -- and a slight problem with authority. Both collide when he transfers to an oppressive, rule-crazy middle school. Drowning in dos and don’ts, Rafe and his scheming best friend Leo hatch a plan to break every rule in the school’s Code of Conduct. It's Ferris Bueller meets Home Alone as their battle with Principal Dwight explodes into chaos, both real and imagined. Meanwhile, Rafe struggles to hide his misbehavior from Jeanne, the straight-A, overachieving girl of his dreams, and at home, his mother’s boyfriend -- a moochy, jack-of-no-trades named Bear -- threatens to become his stepfather. Directed by Steve Carr, this movie stars Griffin Gluck, Lauren Graham, Rob Riggle and Thomas Barbusca.
MAX STEEL
Not yet rated; likely PG | Ok for Kids 9+ | In Theaters 10/14 | Open Road Films | Reel Preview: 3 of 5 Reels

16-year old Max McGrath has just moved to a new town and is desperately trying to fit in when he discovers his body can generate the universe’s most powerful energy. Unbeknownst to Max, a slightly rebellious and hilarious techno-organic extraterrestrial named Steel has been keeping an eye on him, hungry for his super-human energy. When they finally meet, they discover that together they form Max Steel, a superhero with powerful strength beyond anything in our world. These two unlikely friends soon find themselves hunted by sinister forces who want to control Max’s powers, as well as an unstoppable enemy from another galaxy. Directed by Stewart Hendler, this movie stars Ben Winchell, Maria Bello, Ana Villafane, Josh Brener, and Andy Garcia.
KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES
Rated PG-13 for sexual content, action/violence and brief strong language | In Theaters 10/21 | Ok for Kids 13+ | 20th Century Fox | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels

In this comedy directed by Greg Mottola, Zach Galifianakis and Isla Fisher play an ordinary suburban couple who discover that it's not easy keeping up with the Joneses. Especially if their impossibly gorgeous and ultra sophisticated new neighbors are played by Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot. But things take an interesting turn when they learn that Mr. and Mrs. Jones are covert operatives.
JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK
Not yet rated; likely PG-13 | In Theaters 10/21 | Ok for Kids 6+ | Warner Bros. | Reel Preview: 3.5 of 5 Reels

In this second installment of the Jack Reacher franchise based on Lee Child’s popular book series, Tom Cruise returns as the title character. Jack must uncover the truth behind a major government conspiracy in order to clear his name. On the run as a fugitive from the law, Reacher uncovers a potential secret from his past that could change his life forever. Directed by Edward Zwick (who also directed Cruise in 2003’s The Last Samurai), this movie also stars Cobie Smulders and Robert Knepper.
OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL
Rated PG-13 for disturbing images, terror, and thematic elements | In Theaters 10/21 | Ok for Kids 14+ | Universal | Reel Preview: 3.5 of 5 Reels

It was never just a game. Inviting audiences again into the lore of the spirit board, Ouija: Origin of Evil tells a terrifying new tale as the follow-up to 2014’s sleeper hit that opened at number one. In 1965 Los Angeles, a widowed mother and her two daughters add a new stunt to bolster their séance scam business, but unwittingly invite authentic evil into their home. When the youngest daughter is overtaken by a merciless spirit, this small family confronts unthinkable fears to save her and send her possessor back to the other side. Directed by Mike Flanagan, this thriller stars Elizabeth Reaser, Annalise Basso, Henry Thomas, and Lulu Wilson.
BOO! A MADEA HALLOWEEN
Rated PG-13 for drug use and references, suggestive content, language, some horror images, and thematic material | In Theaters 10/21 | Ok for Kids 14+ | Lionsgate | Reel Preview: 2.5 of 5 Reels

Tyler Perry once again writes, produces, directs, and stars in his latest project with the popular character Madea. In Boo! A Madea Halloween, Madea winds up in the middle of mayhem when she spends a hilarious, haunted Halloween fending off killers, paranormal poltergeists, ghosts, ghouls, and zombies while keeping a watchful eye on a group of misbehaving teens. In addition to Madea, Perry also plays the roles of Joe and Brian. Also stars Bella Thorne, Cassie Davis, and Andre Hall.
INFERNO
Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence, disturbing images, some language, thematic elements and brief sensuality | In Theaters 10/28 | Ok for Kids 13+ | Columbia, Sony | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels

Oscar winner Ron Howard returns to direct the latest installment in author Dan Brown’s (Da Vinci Code) billion-dollar Robert Langdon series. Inferno finds the famous symbologist (again played by Tom Hanks) on a trail of clues tied to the great Dante himself. When Langdon wakes up in an Italian hospital with amnesia, he teams up with Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones), a doctor he hopes will help him recover his memories. Together, they race across Europe and against the clock to foil a deadly global plot.
JANE’S REEL RATING SYSTEM
One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.

Two Reels – Coulda been a contender

Three Reels – Something to talk about.

Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!

Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.

Jane Boursaw is the film critic and editor-in-chief of Reel Life With Jane. Contact her at jboursaw@charter.net. Images used with permission of the studios and distributors.

 
October coming attractions
New movies in October include several book adaptations, including The Girl on the Train. Here’s a sneak peek at all the new movies in October. Note that release dates are subject to change.
THE BIRTH OF A NATION
Rated R for disturbing violent content, and some brief nudity | In Theaters 10/7 | Ok for Kids 17+ | Fox Searchlight | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels

Set against the antebellum South, this remake of the 1915 silent film follows Nat Turner (Nate Parker), a literate slave and preacher whose financially strained owner, Samuel Turner, accepts an offer to use Nat’s preaching to subdue unruly slaves. As he witnesses countless atrocities -- against himself and his fellow slaves -- Nat orchestrates an uprising in the hopes of leading his people to freedom. Directed by Nate Parker, this movie also stars Armie Hammer, Mark Boone Junior, Aunjanue Ellis, Gabrielle Union, Penelope Ann Miller, Jackie Earle Haley, and Dwight Henry.
THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN
Rated R for violence, sexual content, language, and nudity | In Theaters 10/7 | Ok for Kids 17+ | Universal | Reel Preview: 5 of 5 Reels

Based on Paula Hawkins’ bestselling novel, this thriller stars Emily Blunt as Rachel, a troubled woman who's devastated by her recent divorce. She spends her daily commute fantasizing about the seemingly perfect couple who live in a house that her train passes every day, until one morning she sees something shocking happen there and becomes entangled in the mystery that unfolds. Directed by Tate Taylor, this movie also stars Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, Allison Janney, and Edgar Ramirez.
DESIERTO
Rated R for strong violence and language | In Theaters 10/14 | Ok for Kids 17+ | STX Entertainment | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels

From Gravity filmmakers Jonás Cuarón and Alfonso Cuarón comes a unique, modern vision of terror. Desierto is a visceral suspense-thriller packed with tension from start to finish, starring Gael García Bernal (The Motorcycle Diaries) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchmen). What begins as a hopeful journey to seek a better life becomes a harrowing fight for survival when a deranged, rifle-toting vigilante chases a group of unarmed men and women through the treacherous U.S.-Mexican border. In the harsh, unforgiving desert terrain, the odds are stacked firmly against them as they continuously discover there’s nowhere to hide from the merciless killer.
THE ACCOUNTANT
Rated R for strong violence and language throughout | In Theaters 10/14 | Ok for kids 17+ | Warner Bros. | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels

Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) is a math savant with more affinity for numbers than people. Behind the cover of a small-town CPA office, he works as a freelance accountant for some of the world’s most dangerous criminal organizations. With the Treasury Department’s Crime Enforcement Division, run by Ray King (J.K. Simmons), starting to close in, Christian takes on a legitimate client: a state-of-the-art robotics company where an accounting clerk (Anna Kendrick) has discovered a discrepancy involving millions of dollars. But as Christian uncooks the books and gets closer to the truth, the body count starts to rise. Directed by Gavin O’Connor, this thriller also stars John Lithgow, Jon Bernthal, and Jeffrey Tambor.
CERTAIN WOMEN
Not yet rated; likely R | In Theaters 10/14 | Ok for Kids 17+ | IFC Films | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels

Kelly Reichardt (Wendy and Lucy) directs a remarkable ensemble cast led by Michelle Williams, Kristen Stewart, Laura Dern, and newcomer Lily Gladstone in this stirring look at four women striving to forge their own paths amid the wide-open plains of the American Northwest: a lawyer (Dern) who finds herself contending with both office sexism and a hostage situation; a wife and mother (Williams) whose determination to build her dream home puts her at odds with the men in her life; and a young law student (Stewart) who forms an ambiguous bond with a lonely ranch hand (Gladstone). As their stories intersect in subtle but powerful ways, a portrait emerges of flawed, but strong-willed individuals in the process of defining themselves.
KEVIN HART: WHAT NOW?
Rated R for some sexual material, and language throughout | In Theaters 10/14 | Universal | Reel Preview: 3 of 5 Reels

In this concert documentary, comedic rock-star Kevin Hart follows up his 2013 hit movie Let Me Explain, which grossed $32 million domestically and became the third-highest live stand-up comedy movie of all time. Hart takes center stage in this groundbreaking, record-setting, sold-out performance of What Now? Filmed outdoors in front of 50,000 people at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field, this marks the first time a comedian has ever performed to an at-capacity football stadium.
RINGS
Not yet rated; likely R | In Theaters 10/28 | Ok for Kids 17+ | Paramount | Reel Preview: 3.5 of 5 Reels

In this new chapter in the terrifying Ring franchise, a young woman becomes worried about her boyfriend when he explores a dark subculture surrounding a mysterious videotape said to kill the watcher seven days after it’s been viewed. She sacrifices herself to save her boyfriend and in doing so, makes a horrifying discovery: there's a “movie within the movie” that no one has ever seen before. Directed by F. Javier Gutierrez, this movie stars Matilda Lutz, Alex Roe, Johnny Galecki, Aimee Teegarden, and Vincent D’Onofrio.
JANE’S REEL RATING SYSTEM
One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.

Two Reels – Coulda been a contender

Three Reels – Something to talk about.

Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!

Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.

Jane Boursaw is the film critic and editor-in-chief of Reel Life With Jane. Contact her at jboursaw@charter.net. Images used with permission of the studios and distributors.

Jane Boursaw is the film critic and editor-in-chief of Reel Life With Jane. Images in this feature used courtesy of the studios and distributors.