The Lighthouse
Movie 2019

The Lighthouse movie 2019, is a dark, moody sort of film. Of course, if you're a lover of lighthouses, The Lighthouse, released in 2019 is a must-see. Certain films just are! It's an intense film. If you're not up for feeling a bit out of sorts that day - maybe view it another time. We sort-of felt that way after watching!

You may be puzzled by some scenes, stunned by some, and perhaps somewhat disgusted by others. We felt a bit of those emotions. Is it a suitable family lighthouse film? Certainly not for the very young. Perhaps for teens who are mature, but maybe parents should watch it on their own first. Then decide

Take a look, first, at the production, cast, and exactly what the movie is about. Let's delve into The Lighthouse movie 2019. 

Analogue camera with the film in an artsy styleThe Lighthouse Movie 2019 is Filmed in Moody Black & White

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The Lighthouse 2019 Cast

With two forceful main actors playing lead roles, the 2019 film The Lighthouse doesn't have many more speaking roles. It centers on two main characters, Thomas Howard and Thomas Wake. Both having that same first name is part of the plot you'll want to recall. Particularly when you view the film. Here's the cast:1

  • Robert Pattinson - Playing Thomas Howard
  • Willem Defoe - Playing Thomas Wake
  • Valeriia Karaman - As the mermaid
  • Logan Hawkes - As Ephraim Winslow
  • Kyla Nicolle - As the woman on the rocks
  • Shaun Clarke - As the departing Wickie (slang for lighthouse keeper)
  • Pierre Richard - As the departing Assistant Wickie
  • Preston Hudson - As the Tender Mate
  • Jeffrey Cruts - As the Tender Mate (Jeff Cruts)
  • Sully Seagull - As the seagull, uncredited bird

The Lighthouse Movie 2019 Production Notes

The Lighthouse Movie Editorial Clacker
  • Script by - Robert Eggers & Max Eggers
  • Director - Robert Eggers
  • Film Genre - Horror, Drama, Fantasy, Mystery
  • First Released May 19, 2019 at Cannes Film Festival, France. Released USA: November 1, 2019.
  • Filming Locations:
  1. Cape Forchu Lighthouse, Nova Scotia Canada
  2. Studio/Sound Stage, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada via Screen Nova Scotia
  • Technicalities - 1 hour, 49 minutes runtime. Dolby digital sound. Filmed in Black & White, giving it this brooding aura. But check out these curious further stats to the B/W filming:
  1. Made with Double-X stock black and white. For correct exposure, this film needs increased light luminance.
  2. Therefore, with night and/or indoor shots especially, film set lighting needed to be much stronger (up to 20X normal).
  3. Their solution: halogen bulbs, up to 800 watts, in period style lanterns.
  4. This created surroundings exceedingly bright for cast and crew. Actors could hardly see each other. Crew needed sunglasses to see what they were doing!
  • The Motion Picture Association Rating is "R" for sexual content, nudity, violence, disturbing images, and some language. For parents desiring more detail before viewing:
  1. Brief 3-second female topless nudity & another of male rear
  2. Much longer assorted sections indicating male masturbation
  3. A mermaid sex scene briefly shows a "prosthetic vagina"1 based on a shark's, and the act from farther above viewing the male's nude rear, with accompanying sounds
  4. Numerous brutal fight scenes. Plus other gory or disturbing scenes, possibly unsuitable for some: severed head, attempt to bury someone alive, axing someone, strangling a seagull, & a seagull pecking at a gory dead body.
  5. Some profanity, including the "f" word three times.
  6. Once at the lighthouse a few days, the main characters begin drinking lots of alcohol, plus turpentine when the booze runs out. As time goes on they're very drunk much of the time. There's also smoking.

The Lighthouse Summaries


Movie film

The Lighthouse movie of 2019 received an Oscar nomination. Jarin Blaschke, Director of Photography, received it for Best Achievement in Cinematography. Overall, The Lighthouse movie from 2019 received over 131 varied nominations from sundry organizations. Some of the more memorable are:

  • American Society of Cinematographers, USA - Jarin Blaschke won the Spotlight Award
  • Cannes Film Festival - Robert Eggers won the FIPRESCI Prize
  • CinEuphoria Awards - Robert Pattinson won the CinEuphoria Best Actor - International Competition
  • Columbus Film Critics Association - Willem Dafoe won the COFCA Award for Best Supporting Actor
  • Fangoria Chainsaw Awards - Chainsaw Award Winner for Best Limited Release Film; Robert Pattinson won the Chainsaw Award for Best Actor; Willem Dafoe won the Chainsaw Award for Best Supporting Actor
  • Faro Island Film Festival - Golden Carp Film Award - International - Jarin Blaschke won for Best Cinematography
  • Indiana Film Journalists Association, US - Willem Dafoe won IFJA Award for Best Supporting Actor; Robert Eggers won the Original Vision Award
  • Internet Film Critic Society - IFCS Award was given for Best Experimental Film
  • Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards - Willem Dafoe won the Sierra Award for Best Supporting Actor
  • New Mexico Film Critics - NMFC Award 2019 to Robert Eggers & Max Eggers for Best Original Screenplay
  • North Dakota Film Society - NDFS Award to Willem Dafoe for Best Supporting Actor; NDFS Award to Jarin Blaschke Best Cinematography; NDFS Award to Louise Ford for Best Editing
  • The CAFTCAD Awards - For Best Costume Design in Film Period went to Costume Designer Linda Muir; Plus the Costume/Wardrobe Dept.: Marvin Schlichting, Lori Bond, Leanne Reimer, Lynette Schlichting, Raelene Worthington, Julie Munson, Jitterbug Boy, Susan Willis, Alima Meyboom, Bethana Briffett, Rachael Grant

The Lighthouse 2019 Trailer

The Lighthouse - 2019 Movie's Overview

An eerie looking, gloomy lighthouse with many seagulls flying in the air nearby


Set in the 1890s, at a lighthouse island off the New England coast. Lighthouse Keeper Thomas Wake and inexperienced, new-hire Assistant Keeper, Ephraim Winslow, arrive by boat to change crew for their 4-week shift.

Right away dialogue between the two is somewhat tense, with attempts to be pleasant. The experienced man egging on the new-hire about keeping his place in learning the job. Knowing this important fact: it's only the Head Keeper's responsibility to deal with the lens. The new-hire should never go to the lantern room. Winslow thinks that's odd, but doesn't worry much. He lies down to sleep, discovering a mermaid figurine, saving her in his pocket. He wakes that night after a strange dream and believes he sees Wake unclothed, heading to the lantern.

Just the start of all the strange events that deteriorate with time.

Winslow tasks are the most onerous, even emptying both chamber pots. He must carry fuel drums up many stairs. A seagull begins continually pestering him. Wake warns him not to harm it, as that would bring bad luck.

The week sees further oddities: Winslow often masturbates with the figurine as stimulus; Wake seems to have sexualized passion for the lighthouse lens! He's seen naked on the gallery and moaning in the lantern room.

In a dinner discussion Winslow discovers he replaced a keeper who died after going insane. Wake starts suspecting Winslow wanted to learn Lighthouse Keeping because he was on the run. The two have further dinner conversations, with alcoholic drinks.

Finally it's morning, next-to-last day of their shift. Winslow finds a dead seagull jamming up the flow of light power oil. While removing it, the seagull that's been annoying him flies down attacking. Winslow grabs it, slamming it on a rock 'til it's dead.

That afternoon there's an eerie calm, Wake anticipates it's before the storm. They prepare by boarding up. Then start a drinking binge to get through the gale. They get very drunk. Arguing ensues about letting Winslow see the lantern room, etc. 

Next day the storm continues. No boat arrives for shift changing. When starting tasks, Winslow sees a naked woman's body's washing up onshore. He discovers it's a mermaid! Winslow's back at the quarters to find Wake complaining their food is out, they must retrieve buried stores. They get them, finding only alcohol. 

The drinking continues, the arguing gets worse. Winslow criticizes Wake's cooking, leading to a lecture onslaught from Wake.

One night Winslow slyly climbs the steps to get into the lantern room when Wake's asleep. The door's locked. But he's close enough to view the lens, producing a kind-of psychedelic effect on him. 

The storm continues, there's more drunken conversation. Wake emotionally pressures Winslow to admit his name can't really be Ephraim Winslow. It's that he's on the run for murder, and he took the murdered person's name. Winslow must really be Thomas Howard. So more fighting.

Winslow goes off, accidentally breaking his mermaid figurine. He seems to have lunacy perhaps (?) type visions: he retrieves a lobster pot with the dead keeper's head. Finally, on the sly, he tries getting the lantern room key, but can't do it.

He decides to leave the island on his own. Wake sees him getting out the lifeboat. Wake comes with an ax, destroying the boat, then chases Winslow who runs into their quarters. Wake argues Winslow was chasing him with the ax, destroying the boat. Next we see them partying again, until storm surge waves crash through the windows.


Next day in the flooded quarters, Winslow finds Wake's lighthouse log. He sees an entry stating Wake doesn't intend to pay Winslow. He confronts Wake, who says he knows Winslow killed the seagull, bringing them this bad luck. They begin fighting as Winslow hallucinates Wake as various seafaring figures. Winslow overcomes Wake, gets him in a ditch, retrieves his key and enters the lighthouse.

Wake recovers and starts attacking Winslow with the ax, but is outmaneuvered and fatally hacked instead. Winslow climbs the lighthouse stairway to finally enter the lantern room. Viewing the lens, he gets a delirious look on his face, starts laughing hysterically, then falls backwards down the steps.

It's his ending, on the rocks, naked with a pecking seagull taking vengeance at him.

The Lighthouse
Movie 2019 Reviews

A tremendous amount of reviewers gave their opinions about The Lighthouse, this 2019 released movie about two lighthouse keepers on a small, lonely, windswept island on New England's coast in the late 1890s. Let's see what some of the more well known have said:

A Green thumb-up, a Red thumb-downIs It a Thumbs Up OR a Thumbs Down?
  • After his first viewing at the Cannes Film Festival, from Ben Kenigsberg, posted by Roger Ebert as a Thumbs Up2
  1. "Visually, the movie is continually striking.... The actors are both superb.... 'The Lighthouse' turns into a potent, hallucinatory cocktail of a movie."
  • From James Berardinelli at ReelViews, giving it 4.5 Stars.3
  1. "The Lighthouse starts out as a moody, introspective exploration of loneliness and interpersonal communication and develops into an existential horror movie. ...a riveting but decidedly non-mainstream horror film. Even if the ending is imperfect, I’d love to see more movies like this."
  • From Maria Guillamont of 25 Years Later, who delves lots into all its psychological implications.4
  1. "...created with the intention of provoking the viewer to ask questions, The Lighthouse generally raised just the one: What the hell did I just see? ...remember that all aspects of the film were specifically designed to harbor a sense of disorientation." Also saying "there is no correct way to analyze and hypothesize about meaning in The Lighthouse. Perhaps there really is no method in the madness." Which she attributes to Eggers, quoting him being: “more about questions than answers in this movie.”
  2. "...this is a classic two-handler movie⁠—a film in which two characters compete, usually with one character terrorizing and antagonizing the other.... the metaphorical and contextual aspects of the film go much deeper than that."
  3. She mentions The Lighthouse movie's "variety of Jungian-related symbols and their direct effects on the plot." And again quotes Eggers's illumination: “Nothing good can happen when two men are trapped alone in a giant phallus.”
  4. As a reviewer, she essentially sums it up in her first paragraph: "If analyzing Robert Egger’s films often feels like trying to find meaning in a meaningless world, or if you’re unsure if you’re watching a masterpiece or a fever dream, you might just be on the right track."
  • From The Aisle Seat critic, Mike McGranaghan, member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the Online Film Critics Society. Rated it 4 stars of a possible 4 stars.5
  1. "...not entirely sure what I saw, but I know that I loved every second of it and can't wait to see it again. This is a bold, risk-taking work.... unlike any other movie in recent memory." He gives an example: "Eggers plunges you into this nightmare, so that even mundane-seeming moments – like Winslow painting the exterior of the lighthouse – take on an ominous quality."
  2. He also brings up the psychological implications. "...a certain ambiguity pervades the story. You can put the pieces together in a number of ways..." And "Your read may be different [from mine]. That's part of the fun."
  3. "Dafoe and Pattinson do superb work, creating intense, exaggerated characters.... They're alone, usually drunk, and racing toward madness.... We're on the ride with them, and it's nothing short of exhilarating."

The Lighthouse Movie's Fresnel Lens


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