Written by Teagan Boram
Featured image credits to A24
I would first like to state that I am not a film student. I’m just a person who watches a lot of movies and has a lot of opinions. I’ve been keeping track of the films I watch for a handful of years now, and I’ve given each a rating out of five stars. For example, the last movie I watched and gave five stars was “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.” On the other end of the spectrum, I gave Wes Anderson’s “Isle of Dogs” two stars. This should be a pretty good indicator of whether you will enjoy my opinions on “The Lighthouse.”
A24 has made a big impression on a lot of my friends as well as on me. We all went to see “Midsommar” over the summer and got scared shitless (the look of the summer horror blockbuster has changed a bit it seems?). It definitely represents a certain aesthetic, and aesthetic is very important to people these days. A24’s existence makes it harder to separate the director from the studio, especially when it is easy to define the “A24 film experience.” People develop very general expectations. Right now, I’m not saying that “The Lighthouse” fulfilled my expectations of an A24 film. I will state the expectations I had going into the movie:
1. Robert Pattinson
2. Willem Dafoe
I didn’t seek out any reviews of the film beforehand. I had been seeing ads months prior to it and really just thought it would be a fun film. I learned about the farts from a tweet, which stated: “The Lighthouse had the best movie farts since ‘Nacho Libre’.” Very promising. So we went to the theater.
The jarring realization I had upon arriving at the theater and looking at the posters of upcoming films and seeing the previews for them was that I was not excited for them. Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe and farts did not sound like much, but that was what it took for me to come to the theater for the first time in months. None of the other films advertised had these three things. I started to think that maybe my expectations were a little skewed.
The movie started. Robert Pattinson met Willem Dafoe, and because of the accents they were putting on and the roughness of their characters, it was nearly impossible for me to understand what they were saying. That dismayed me at the beginning, and even more as the film went on and I desperately tried to understand what was happening. After it’s all said and done, though, I’m not really sure that subtitles would’ve helped.
Because it was hard to understand what they were saying, and because there was a lack of backstory for the characters, they remained only as “Robert Pattinson” and “Willem DaFoe” in my mind. Even in the scene where Pattinson’s character asks DaFoe to call him by his first name, it was impossible for me to catch what the name even was. For me, it felt almost like “Gravity”, where it’s just George Clooney and Sandra Bullock in space, except here it’s just a teen vampire and the Green Goblin on an island. The facial hair did do a lot for both of them, though.
Robert Eggers’ early film influences were pretty clear, but “The Lighthouse” is a piece of work more than a period piece. I wished that this enthusiasm for the time and place had spilled more into plot and the development of the characters. That would have made it easier for viewers to believe everything else that ends up happening. It was really hard for me to be scared or mind blown when I didn’t know what was going on in the first place. The only thing I could really say afterward was, “That was a movie.”