“The Lighthouse” mini film review

What did I just watch??? I still haven’t a clue, but it was sure beautiful to look at. The Lighthouse is visually stunning, brilliantly edited, and the performances are mindblowingly fantastic! There’s only one small problem–well, more like a big problem–there is no plot. Audiences will be left in the dark on this one. Roger Eggers was so busy focussing on the visual elements of the film (don’t get me wrong, that is very important) but I think he needed his own lighthouse to provide direction for the writing because the plot got lost at sea. No to be too blunt, but The Lighthouse is a directorial masterbatory exercise of film as a visual medium. The story, if you want to call it that, is more poetic than diegetic. Meaning, the story is emotionally driven versus action or even character driven. There lacks any narrative in the traditional sense, but much like a poem, there is visual imagery ripe for interpretation. I equate this film with a painting or sculpture in a museum. We may not know precisely what the artist intended, but we can read our own interpretation into the work of art. Therefore, that artwork holds special meaning for us. You can say the same thing about The Lighthouse. While there is not a plot to follow, the imagery will mean different things to different people. For bibliophiles, you will undoubtedly identify the Odyssey elements in the film, which I thought were great! What we have here is the poster child of an auteur’s film. There was such a focus on the art of visual storytelling that the actual story was nearly left out. And by story, I am referring to plot specifically. Even the great Cecil B. DeMille knew the importance of a motion picture with a story, “the greatest art in the world is the art of storytelling.” With such powerful imagery, expertly crafted and arranged in a brilliant fashion that intrigues and assaults the eyes all at the same time, I would have loved to have seen a well-developed plot that could have elevated the spectacle of the film to an experiential narrative.

Ryan teaches screenwriting at the University of Tampa. If you like this article, check out the others and FOLLOW this blog! Interested in Ryan making a guest appearance on your podcast or contributing to your website? Send him a DM on Twitter or email him at RLTerry1@gmail.com! You can catch Ryan most weeks at Studio Movie Grill Tampa, so if you’re in the area, feel free to catch a movie with him!

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9 thoughts on ““The Lighthouse” mini film review

  1. I thought the exact same! My son and I had a discussion about it. Great acting, great directing, but no story substance, or even a story, in this film… I tweeted this to him. Great review and not only because I agree with you. Haha! Have a good one.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I fully understand your issues with this movie not having a plot and to compare it to a poem is correct. I thought of this as being one man’s Nightmare. That person being Robert Pattinson’s character. The only sequences that are real is the one at the very start when we see both characters on the ship heading towards the lighthouser i. The other is the very last shot of Pattinson’s character lying with the seagulls around him. Everything else is a dream, and in dreams there doesnt have to be logic. Again this is just my perception of it. I may be wrong or in a dream myself

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There are many dream-like moments in the film. It reminds me of a less structured David Lynch film. Though this film contains similarities in conflict and emotion to that of “Muholland Drive,” I feel that Muholland still told a better story. Your comments about a dream are interesting, and worth consideration in the larger argument on this cinematic experiment.


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