Book to Movie Comparison: The Light Between Oceans


*music playing* Hey everybody! So, today I wanted to do a book to movie comparison on The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman. This is a book many of you will probably recognize. Its had a buzz around it for a number of years and I read it last year the end of August, beginning of September in preparation for the movie coming out. I figured, hey, if I enjoy the book I can watch the movie and make this video. And I did enjoy the book so here we are! This book, if you don’t know, is about a couple, Tom and Isabel. Tom returns to Australia after fighting in World War I with the goal of being a lighthouse keeper. Before he is shipped off to the island he meets a woman named Isabel and they end up starting a correspondence, sharing letters, and Tom eventually marries Isabel. Isabel moves out to the island with him and they have an excellent relationship other than the fact that Isabel can’t seem to have a child. She has a few miscarriages and it really puts a strain on their relationship and then one day a little dinghy floats up to the island and in the dinghy is a dead man and a young infant that’s still alive. Isabel immediately becomes attached to the infant and she begs Tom not to alert the authorities about this dead man and the baby. Tom has a pretty strict moral compass and he has a really hard time not doing this but he eventually says yes because he loves Isabel and he can see how happy the baby makes her. So he decides not to report it and this decision is a big one that goes on to change their lives, the baby’s life, and the lives of people that they know from the town that Isabel came from. Now, the movie obviously came out this past year. It stars Michael Fassbender as Tom and Alicia Vikander as Isabel and the first thing that you’ll notice about the book and the movie is that it’s very much a slow burn. There’s a lot of time spent at the beginning learning about different characters and talking about their feelings and history and everything before this important decision is made about not reporting the child and the dead man. Once that decision is made the pace picks up and the situation becomes even more intense and that is reflected very well in the movie. When you’re reading the book another big thing is the setting that they’re in. They’re on this isolated island in the middle of nowhere and it’s sometimes easy to forget how much the weather and the atmosphere there can affect what’s happening to the characters. You might forget that there’s wind whipping against the house and blowing the trees and there’s waves crashing against the rocks. When you’re watching the movie it’s always there. Any scene that’s happening on the island that effect is always around you and so it’s easier to remember that that’s happening and you can appreciate the beautiful location that they’re in. That translated to really good cinematography. There are a couple of shots that were just absolutely amazing and actually made me want to know where they shot the movie because it was that pretty. In a way I think that it was almost heightened by the movie because you’re able to see what’s happening and really take it in. Whereas, in the book, you have to sort of remember in the back of your mind about the setting. Something that a book can do that movie would have a more difficult time doing is expressing what characters are thinking. In a book you can write everything down on the page and the reader can really understand what’s going through a character’s head. That’s not the case in the movie. You can’t be continually putting up words on the screen trying to explain why the character looks the way that they do. So you need good actors to be able to portray what the character’s thinking and feeling using their expressions and their body language and having Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander there was excellent. They were both very good at this. There’s a lot of subtle moments between those characters or when they’re sitting alone and they’re thinking about the decisions that they’ve made and how that’s affecting them and the people around them. There are certain scenes particularly when Isabel is having her miscarriages that those scenes could almost become cheesy and awkward if done the wrong way but with the camera direction and the actors themselves I think it came off as a very serious, tense moment and it was it was done very well. The stress in Tom and the stress in Isabel and just the sadness. It was really brilliant. I would say it’s very faithful adaptation from the book to the movie. Major scenes that I could think of all showed up in the movie. There were a couple moments, one or two, I think that might have been embellished for dramatic effect. Like I said, I read the book at the end of August, beginning of September so some things are not completely concrete in my mind anymore, but I feel like there were a few moments that were embellished and, hey, that’s Hollywood. Like, it’s gonna happen. It certainly didn’t take away from my enjoyment of everything that was happening. There was one thing that doesn’t really have much to do with the actual book to movie adaptation but it did take away from me actually watching the movie and be engrossed in it and that was the accents. I felt like some characters had excellent Australian accents and then actors who were portraying their children or somebody that should be Australian their accents were just very weak or very subtle and it actually made me pause and wonder if the actor was even trying to do an Australian accent or if I was just getting so used to hearing it that I wasn’t picking up on it anymore. But, that was just a weird thing I noticed. If you have seen the movie let me know if you found that as well. That’s just a side note that doesn’t have to do with the book to movie adaptation portion but if it affects your movie viewing it is important to mention because obviously that’s not something you’re going to come across in a book. But it is something you’re going to notice in a movie. When I finished reading the book i rated it four stars and I also feel like that rating is appropriate for the movie because it is such a faithful adaptation I really felt that the feelings that I got reading the book were the same that I felt during the movie. The writing in the book is excellent and that translates to a good script on screen with excellent actors doing a really good job of portraying all of those tense moments between other characters and in their own head. If you have read the book and are debating watching the movie I would say go for it. If you are somebody who has seen the movie and are wondering if reading the book is worth your time I would also say go ahead and read it. They really do go well together. If you like one you’re probably going to like the other. If you have read the book and seen the movie let me know what you thought of it down below. I would love to hear your thoughts. As always, all of our links are in the doobly-doo. Thank you guys very much for watching and I’ll see you later.

11 thoughts on “Book to Movie Comparison: The Light Between Oceans

  1. Hi! Great comparison, I pretty much agree with everything you said 🙂 I saw the movie right before I read the book so I feel like everything I felt about the movie characters was put onto the book if that makes sense … I normally always read the book before I see the movie and this experience confirms that that is the best way to do it! …for me anyway haha

  2. Interesting book. Most lighthouses are automated now.
    Your channel has passed the 3/4 mark & is headed for 14K. Wonder if u'll get gift books next mo.

  3. Hey guysss, how are you doing? Look, I'm sorry to bother, but I would like to make a video request if it's ok. So, I have a project of only reading books written by weman next year, just because I've notice that the great majority of my books are written by male authors and I don't think thats fear. And so, I identify a lot with your literary taste and I think you guys may know a lot of great and diferent books written by girls, so what do you think about doind a video of your favotire ones? Thank youuuu, you guys are awesome. :*

  4. This is one of my favourite books. It just gut me and I spent a lot of it being a big ol'
    weepy mess. I can't wait for M.L. Stedman to come out with another book
    but I'm not sure what that'll happen though. I thought the movie was fantastic! So happy I stumbled upon
    your lovely channel.

  5. The shot the movie in Australia! I believe it was near Tasmania, though I might be mistaken 😛 I absolutely love this story!

  6. I haven't seen the movie and because of your review I want to read the book even more now and watch a movie it sounds very interesting

  7. I know it's kind of late but I wanna say that I was also really bugged about the accents, since the main characters didn't even seem to be trying to pull it out. I would've also liked that they include the moment where Tom saves Hannah from being harassed by some guy in a boat. Lastly, I feel that the movie lacked the connection between Tom and the lighthouse. Still, these are minor grievances and I liked the movie all in all.

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