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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board  /  Movie, Television and DVD Reviews  /  The Lighthouse (2019)
Posted by: JEStaats, November 10th, 2019, 3:26pm
When the credits came up at the end of the film (and, yes, it is a film in the truest sense), I asked myself "What did I just watch?" It's a beautifully shot movie: Eastman 35mm B&W, full screen and mono sound. Was Eggers trying too hard to be artsy? Damn good job giving it a classic tone. Definitely a love note to Hollywood days gone by.

I went into this with some notion of what it was about but was way wrong. As a big fan of Eggers The Witch, I was just expecting something different. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't disappointed. Very interesting screenplay. It could've been a stage play.

That was over a week ago and I'm still curious, hoping others might chime in. Dafoe and Pattinson were at their best for this two man show. Top-notch performances by both (Dafoe never disappoints) but Pattinson shocked the crap out of me. He was absolutely stellar. Where did that talent come from?!

So, what did I watch? I'm still thinking about it so that makes it rank even higher on my list.
Posted by: StevenClark, November 10th, 2019, 4:07pm; Reply: 1
I've kinda been following A24 since The Florida Project (of which I'm a fan) so I was pretty jacked when I saw the trailer for this and, like you, am a huge fan of Willem Dafoe. So, I haven't seen this yet and probably won't make it to the theater. I'll watch when it starts streaming, but I was very much looking forward to this. Heard there were a lot of farts in this flick.
Posted by: James McClung, November 10th, 2019, 5:10pm; Reply: 2
Film of the year for me, easy. Saw it in theaters twice. So sick! Totally strange, wild, and original. It even surpassed The VVitch for me, which I didn't anticipate being possible.

Thought about writing a review for this one myself. Almost seems reductive to do so. It's a difficult film to pin down, which of course is part of the appeal. It doesn't even really fit into the whole A24 slow, atmospheric horror/drama "trend."

That said, I was also too lazy to write a review. So thank you, Mr. JEStaats, for posting this. I was really worried peeps had slept on this one.

One of the biggest takeaways for me is that Robert Eggers is the real deal. There've been a lot of false prophets coming onto the scene the last few years IMO, especially on the horror front. Thankfully, this dude is not one of them.

Far out shit. Love it!
Posted by: JEStaats, November 10th, 2019, 5:36pm; Reply: 3

Quoted from James McClung
Film of the year for me, easy. Saw it in theaters twice. So sick! Totally strange, wild, and original. It even surpassed The VVitch for me, which I didn't anticipate being possible.

Thought about writing a review for this one myself. Almost seems reductive to do so. It's a difficult film to pin down, which of course is part of the appeal. It really doesn't even fit into the A24 slow, atmospheric horror/drama mold, no matter whether you're on the love or hate side of this loosely defined trend, if we can call it that.

That said, I was also too lazy to write a review. So thank you, Mr. JEStaats, for posting this. I was really fearing folks had slept on this one.

One of the biggest takeaways for me is that Robert Eggers is the real deal. There've been a lot of false prophets coming onto the scene the last few years IMO, especially on the horror front. Thankfully, this dude is not one of them.

Far out shit. Love it!


Funny thing, it took me more than a week to post as I wasn't sure what to say about it. Not knowing what to think about it doesn't mean that it's not thought provoking. Far from it.

Definitely agree that Eggers is the one to watch. A bright future for that guy.
Posted by: Penoyer79, November 11th, 2019, 12:09am; Reply: 4
I'd love to see it but it's a shame it's not playing anywhere.
Posted by: Scar Tissue Films, November 11th, 2019, 3:46pm; Reply: 5
I was one of those that found the Witch very boring. I've realised now that if mainstream critics love a horror, it's going to be too dull for me.

Still, this is an event that had always fascinated me, so I'll check it out at some point.
Posted by: Heretic, November 12th, 2019, 1:59pm; Reply: 6
Not particularly scary or even particularly intense, but great to look at and just a really fun little tale. Unsurprisingly solid performances. Best of all, just really genuinely original.

Of all the followup features this year, with new films from the directors of Get Out, The Babadook, Hereditary, and It Follows, The Lighthouse is the one that makes me really excited for the rest of a career.
Posted by: JEStaats, November 13th, 2019, 12:05pm; Reply: 7
Don just posted a link (thanks, Don) to this film's screenplay and it's an awesome example of what many say shouldn't be done or in bad form.

Just in the first three pages, the prose is overwhelming. There are action blocks up to nine lines, direction, and a multitude of, what many would define, unfilmables.

But it all works, and very well at that. After all, the Eggers brothers(?) wrote and directed their own work. Would it work otherwise? Why wouldn't it? The actors embraced the otherwise unfilmable action without challenge. The large blocks of action (I believe) are necessary to set the tone for long shots and scenes without dialogue.

I've not read the entire work yet, but, so far, I love it and this is how I'd love to write. Now I'm just rambling....
Posted by: Zack, November 13th, 2019, 12:18pm; Reply: 8

Quoted from JEStaats
Don just posted a link (thanks, Don) to this film's screenplay and it's an awesome example of what many say shouldn't be done or in bad form.



Where's the link? I'd like to give this a look.

EDIT: Nevermind. I found it. Link here - http://a24awards.com/film/thelighthouse/THE_LIGHTHOUSE_script.pdf
Posted by: StevenClark, November 14th, 2019, 12:24pm; Reply: 9

Quoted from JEStaats
Don just posted a link (thanks, Don) to this film's screenplay and it's an awesome example of what many say shouldn't be done or in bad form.

Just in the first three pages, the prose is overwhelming. There are action blocks up to nine lines, direction, and a multitude of, what many would define, unfilmables.

But it all works, and very well at that. After all, the Eggers brothers(?) wrote and directed their own work. Would it work otherwise? Why wouldn't it? The actors embraced the otherwise unfilmable action without challenge. The large blocks of action (I believe) are necessary to set the tone for long shots and scenes without dialogue.

I've not read the entire work yet, but, so far, I love it and this is how I'd love to write. Now I'm just rambling....


Great script. Did I get it entirely? No. Do I even want to? No. It was a fun read and it makes me want to go out and see the film even more.
Posted by: Demento, November 25th, 2019, 6:41pm; Reply: 10

Quoted from JEStaats
Don just posted a link (thanks, Don) to this film's screenplay and it's an awesome example of what many say shouldn't be done or in bad form.

Just in the first three pages, the prose is overwhelming. There are action blocks up to nine lines, direction, and a multitude of, what many would define, unfilmables.

But it all works, and very well at that. After all, the Eggers brothers(?) wrote and directed their own work. Would it work otherwise? Why wouldn't it? The actors embraced the otherwise unfilmable action without challenge. The large blocks of action (I believe) are necessary to set the tone for long shots and scenes without dialogue.

I've not read the entire work yet, but, so far, I love it and this is how I'd love to write. Now I'm just rambling....


Yes, however, William Defoe told his manager to set up a meeting with the director of the Witch after watching the movie and told him he wants to be in his next film, whatever it is. So, Eggers likely had financing and star actors attached before most of them even got around to reading the script. This is a totally different world then most of us live in.
Posted by: JEStaats, April 30th, 2020, 8:54pm; Reply: 11
FYI  - this just became available on Amazon Prime. Check it out.
Posted by: Colkurtz8, May 1st, 2020, 6:55am; Reply: 12
Amazing film.

The language alone makes it something worth experiencing which is not to take away from its myriad aesthetic qualities. The sound design, the performances, the atmosphere, the cinematography, everything working in concert to achieve a very unusual, singular and cinematic experience. There is lot here for the cinephile to cream themselves over but just on a storytelling level and a character study, its fascinating.

I liked The Witch. It possessed a lot of the qualities The Lighthouse has in terms of the language, the dreadful mood and creating a hermetically sealed, fully realised world (the ending I'm still unsure about, I need to revisit it) but I feel Eggers has taken a great leap forward in his craft with this so called "difficult second album".

I'll be the first in line to watch whatever he does next (if cinema lines ever exist again). Unfortunately, I only got the opportunity to watch The Witch and The Lighthouse after their cinema run.

Anyway, he's a bonafide artist. A filmmaker with a voice and a vision.

The script is great read too.
Posted by: Arundel, May 1st, 2020, 7:41am; Reply: 13
I watched this maybe a week ago and didn't like it but since it has stayed with me. Now, when I say didn't like it is much more meaningful as a afterthought to say that storywise it annoyed me. I DID like the cinematography. I DID like the sound design. The acting was good and I'm sure the two leads had a blast hamming it up. Maybe I'll see it again just not anytime soon.
Posted by: Heretic, May 1st, 2020, 3:07pm; Reply: 14
Watched again the other week. First time, I saw it at a press preview in a big theatre -- this time, in quarantine with my roommates. Funny contrast.

It's interesting you mention character, Col, because to me that's where the movie doesn't have much to offer. My vibe was just a fun, silly, weird chamber piece with two increasingly mad men who are more cypher/symbol than rooted personalities. I thought their defining characteristics were just "older man" and "younger man." Not that I'm expressing that as a criticism!
Posted by: Colkurtz8, May 2nd, 2020, 2:39am; Reply: 15

Quoted from Heretic
Watched again the other week. First time, I saw it at a press preview in a big theatre -- this time, in quarantine with my roommates. Funny contrast.

It's interesting you mention character, Col, because to me that's where the movie doesn't have much to offer. My vibe was just a fun, silly, weird chamber piece with two increasingly mad men who are more cypher/symbol than rooted personalities. I thought their defining characteristics were just "older man" and "younger man." Not that I'm expressing that as a criticism!


I think there was much more to them than just their age. Perhaps, I'm giving to much credit to meticulously accurate language of the era and the dedication to getting that period right but how each one expressed themselves (or didn't) spoke (pun intended, sorry) volumes. All their little foibles, tics and rituals, the power dynamic between the two and how that not only shifts but constantly oscillates throughout the film, to me, speak to acutely drawn human, albeit heightened characters.

You are right in that they are functioning as theme/symbols just as much as actual people but to me that gave them more dimension. This is a very specific world they are inhabiting and are thus a reflection of it. Above anything, they are memorable...although, while I'm a big fan of him and his boldness as an actor, I think Pattinson is a little out of his depth during parts of his "rage" scenes.
Posted by: AlsoBen, May 3rd, 2020, 4:09am; Reply: 16
protags were both super gay

thats my analysis
Posted by: Colkurtz8, May 4th, 2020, 8:13am; Reply: 17

Quoted from AlsoBen
protags were both super gay

thats my analysis


Haha, what makes this analysis so laser sharp is the inclusion of the adverb "super"  ;D
Posted by: Demento, May 4th, 2020, 2:34pm; Reply: 18
I saw this when it came out. I went in wanting to like it, as I liked The Witch, however, everything about this movie came off as forced to me. Like it was trying too hard and it felt very artificial. I especially disliked the dialogue, not the "language of the era", it just felt like someone went over it a lot of times to make it sound polished, but it had the opposite effect on me. It felt very constructed and fake.
Posted by: Dreamscale, May 4th, 2020, 11:59pm; Reply: 19
OK, SS'ers, I'm going to attempt to watch this now.

I thought I would love The Witch, but I did not...at all.

Let's see...
Posted by: Dreamscale, May 6th, 2020, 10:57am; Reply: 20
Well, I did watch it and got through the entire movie in 1 sitting, so that's good.

The movie looks very good, and I can only imagine how good it looked on the Big Screen.  The shots were all thought through so well, with so many different angles.  Impressive for sure.

Pattinson and Dafoe both did a great job.  Dialogue was very strong, although I noticed both messed up their accents a few times, Pattinson more so, but great overall performances from both.

Story-wise, this was rough for me, as there's very little story.  Things sure do go off the rails once Pattinson's character takes a drink, and I had no choice but watch, waiting for...hmmm...I'm not sure what I was waiting for, as I really had no clue where this was going to go.  Where it did go was rather shocking to me, but things were already so whacko, the finale really didn't hit me as hard as I thought it would.

I give Robert Eggers all the credit in the world for creating something so "different", but in that same breath, I have to say the film really wasn't for me and I have no interest in ever watching it again.

Grade - B
Posted by: jwent6688, May 6th, 2020, 1:49pm; Reply: 21
I hated this film. The atmosphere was majestic. The set up was great. Everything was in place and at the end I was like “WTF did I just watch?”

The dialogue might as well have been in any other language without subtitles and I would’ve retained about as much. Just couldn’t understand them at all.

Eggers has an uncanny ability to set your mood with his visuals and soundtrack. The relentless foghorn was great. I just felt this didn’t go anywhere. It wasn’t for me, but I can see why people like to talk about it.

James.
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