The Lighthouse

Critics Consensus

A gripping story brilliantly filmed and led by a pair of powerhouse performances, The Lighthouse further establishes Robert Eggers as a filmmaker of exceptional talent.

91%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 300

72%

Audience Score

Verified Ratings: 1,926
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Movie Info

From Robert Eggers, the visionary filmmaker behind modern horror masterpiece The Witch, comes this hypnotic and hallucinatory tale of two lighthouse keepers on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s.

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Critic Reviews for The Lighthouse

All Critics (300) | Top Critics (41) | Fresh (274) | Rotten (26)

  • The actors play it big and bold in a visually striking, black and white horror show.

    Oct 25, 2019 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • The visceral, disgusting, and irrefutably maddening theatrics of The Lighthouse are entrancing enough to have viewers happily giving themselves over to a beckoning siren by film's end.

    Oct 25, 2019 | Full Review…
  • The Lighthouse works because of the strength of the actors' performances, the power of their interaction, and the aura of incipient dread that saturates everything.

    Oct 25, 2019 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • It's rough going, but it's beautifully filmed and framed in black and white, and Dafoe is wild and wildly entertaining in a role that feels written to match his every aspect.

    Oct 25, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Pattinson is superb but it's Dafoe who emerges as a giant with a towering, unforgettable performance.

    Oct 25, 2019 | Rating: A- | Full Review…
  • What is the opposite of a crowd-pleaser? A crowd-splitter, maybe? Whatever you call it, "The Lighthouse" is one.

    Oct 24, 2019 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Lighthouse

  • 6d ago
    An intricately constructed visual marvel with fantastic lead performances. I'm not convinced the ending works but at least it is as unrelentingly bleak as the rest of the movie.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Dec 10, 2019
    The story is way out there. On a deserted island with a lighthouse, you might say. The acting performances are too but in a very good way. Pattinson is great, but Dafoe puts on the performance of the year so far from what I have seen. The two actors carry this film, but the score and directing choices give it an aura that sticks with you long after the film ends. An aura that makes me like the film way more than I should.
    Sanjay R Super Reviewer
  • Dec 01, 2019
    The Lighthouse is an atmospherically brilliant puzzle of a film - with stunning black and white cinematography, haunting visuals, and a foreboding score. Taking many cues from The Shining, it's successful as a chilling (even terrifying) exercise in semi-horror (with enough humor to balance out the darkness), even if not all of its provocative symbols and events fall into place. You may leave the theater scratching your head, but you will be satisfied by what you saw. The film will stick with you after - as you try to unpack its strangeness.
    Matthew S Super Reviewer
  • Nov 10, 2019
    THE SHORE THING - My Review of THE LIGHTHOUSE (4 Stars) One of my all-time favorite films is F.W. Murnau's silent classic, Sunrise, a drop dead gorgeous example of German expressionism in which its haunting imagery and Postman Always Rings Twice storyline felt way ahead of its time. Filmmakers today could learn a lot from its ability to tell a compelling story with very little dialogue. Some of our most visceral current filmmakers, such as David Lynch and Claire Denis owe a huge debt to this pioneering filmmaker. Add Robert Eggers to that list, whose debut film, The Witch, demonstrated his mastery of tone and dread, and now with his follow-up, The Lighthouse, he adds brutality, intensity, subtext, and surrealism to his singular voice. It's definitely not a film for everyone, but if you like to feel a film down to its pores, then welcome to his little slice of Hell. In late 1890s New England, Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson) serves as Thomas Wake's (Willem Dafoe) assistant for a grueling 4 week stint minding a remote lighthouse. Wake's a gruff, pipe-smoking, constantly farting, foul-mouthed old salt, while Winslow, who relocated from the Pacific Northwest, has a quiet air of mystery about him. Eggers, who co-wrote the script with his brother Max, shoots in an inky black and white and opts for a square aspect ratio, the better to sell its silent film qualities. We've convincingly stumbled into the past, where dank quarters barely protect you from the elements and cabin fever seems like a mere introduction. From the start, Eggers immerses us into their world. An early shot of Wake and Winslow framing a shot of the lighthouse as their boat sails ashore has the feel and vibe of a hand-cranked silent film. A minute later, the pair stare into the camera with looks so deadening, they seem to tell us they know of the rough ride ahead. Wake treats Wislow like a dog. While Wake insists on working in the lighthouse at night, he orders Winslow to do all the daytime drudge work, such as cleaning the latrine, painting the walls, and constantly scrubbing like a Cinderella who will never see a glass slipper. Winslow can also never go into the top of the lighthouse. Of course, a command like that will not be heeded or we'd have no film. Getting to that point, Eggers loads the screen with an endless display of dread. The intrusive sound mix combines constant foghorns with Mark Korven's bold, distinctive score. It rattles you, along with cinematographer Jarin Blaschke's fantastic framing and use of negative space. We experience the deprivation through Winslow's eyes, his gaze fixated on Wake while he sleeps. Occasionally, Winslow will relieve his tension while holding a mermaid figurine, but his sexual feelings seem confused. Violent impulses eventually supplant sexual ones. Hallucinations abound. Men lose themselves in the moment. It's impossible to watch this film without thinking of it as a treatise on homosexual panic. Waiting For Gaydot, as it were. Since Eggars has "young auteur" written all over him, much like Ari Aster has with his first two films, we already have some Eggers tropes at play. In addition to the black and white, the unsettling sound mix, and the unexplainable occurrences, he also brings us another memorable animal performance. Whereas The Witch gave us Black Phillip, the goat, his new film has an intensely squawking seagull who finds all sorts of ways to annoy Winslow. You won't forget the gull's storyline anytime soon. Same goes for the lead performances. Dafoe, who spouts a constant stream of crazed monologues, kept me from wanting this to be dialogue-free. It's a non-stop, ferocious role, and Dafoe takes a big bite out of it. He reminded me of R. Lee. Ermey in Full Metal Jacket, with his bold, fearless approach to a character most would want to clobber. Pattinson proves once more that post-Twilight, he's one of the greats. As an actor, he has the most expressive eyes and knows how to simultaneously evoke danger and lust. As things go completely bonkers in this film, you willingly take the ride just to see how Pattinson will react to the increasingly crazy and dire circumstances. Not everybody goes to the movies to feel dirty and disgusted. The Lighthouse hardly offers escapist fare. It's a romantic comedy as filtered through a literal cesspool, and Eggers joins the few who I'll follow down into the sewer if it means experiencing a film like this, which engages all of your senses.
    Glenn G Super Reviewer

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