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.

90%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 359

72%

Audience Score

Verified Ratings: 1,932

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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 (359) | Top Critics (45) | Fresh (324) | Rotten (35)

  • American writer-director Robert Eggers excels at transporting you into the past and putting you under the skin of those you meet there. Persuading you to be glad that you came is another matter.

    February 5, 2020 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • The Lighthouse is a pressure-cooker.

    January 31, 2020 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • The longer the film goes on, the weirder it gets and the more it resembles a sitcom - The Odd Couple in sou'westers, a droll symphony of bodily functions, bubbling friction and all manner of desires that dare not speak their name.

    January 29, 2020 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Eggers masters the dangerous mix of horror and comedy.

    January 29, 2020 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • The actors play it big and bold in a visually striking, black and white horror show.

    October 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.

    October 25, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Lighthouse

  • Feb 14, 2020
    Illuminated by stellar performances from Dafoe and Pattinson, the Lighthouse is a psychological intrigue that will leave audiences baffling, both in a good and bad way, but undeniably evoked by its imagery and seemingly flawless banter and chemistry among its leads. 3.98/5
    Eugene B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 25, 2020
    Calling all TWILIGHT fan girls and boys. If you've ever lusted after seeing your favorite fantasy vampire boyfriend Edward's pale buttocks, have I got a movie for you! I know his presence in Stephanie Meyers' supernatural teensploitation franchise is ancient history at this point, but I think it's important to recall Robert Pattinson's humble beginnings, especially considering how far he's come along in the world of cinema. You will notice from a lot of write-ups that he has been declared "one of the greatest actors of his generation" after his performance in Robert Eggers' THE LIGHTHOUSE, and I have no intention of denying him of the title. I'll let his upcoming performance in THE BATMAN determine whether he'll go the way of Christian Bale or remain a respectably pretentious art-house obscurities-only darling. Making a follow up to 2015's THE VVITCH would be no enviable task. While I'm sure there is a vocal minority that call it overrated and boring, few can deny just how much the film stood out from almost every horror film (besides UNDER THE SKIN) in the decade preceding it, and it was a harbinger of a new generation of fresh psychologically and philosophically thrilling genre releases - many of which emerged from the same A24 production studio. Also undeniable is the precise and painstaking eye for production design and period immersion that Eggers infused his debut with. With his use of early 20th century cameras, lenses, and film, THE LIGHTHOUSE recalls a bygone era of filmmaking that owes much to the films of Dreyer and Murnau. This makes sense considering that the director was slated to make yet another adaptation of NOSFERATU, but I'll gladly admit I was relieved at the announcement that this would be his sophomore release instead. But that is not to say this period set story of cabin fever on a North Atlantic island isn't without its modern sensibilities, as several of the textures, film treatments, and lighting schemes brought to mind the more contemporary offerings of E. Elias Merhige's bleak and oppressive experimental horror BEGOTTEN. Aside from Eggers meticulous rendering of his dark vision and Pattinson's magnetic and compelling screen presence, the bright beacon at this towering accomplishment of a film is Willem Dafoe's performance as a barnacled old sea dog. Addled by poor nutrition, alcoholism, and years of isolation, Dafoe's rambling light keeper is borderline incoherent yet eloquent in his own way through several epic, spine-tingling monologues that I'm certain sit among the finest performances in his career. The chemistry that he and Pattinson forge through each other's characters makes for a fascinating and demented good time. The claustrophobic atmosphere is heightened by the 1.19:1 aspect ratio, and you can almost smell the farts mix with the ocean spray and coal smoke. As for the story itself, elements seem to have been taken from several real world occurrences like the Flannan Isle lighthouse keepers' vanishing in 1900, the ghost legends surrounding Seguin Island's lighthouse, or the Smalls lighthouse incident of 1801 where one of the keepers died in a freak accident and the other kept their decomposing body for the remaining duration of his watch. Just as Eggers culled from diaries and folk tales written around the time of the Salem witch trials for THE VVITCH, that same dedication and priority is taken regarding the historical dialect and mechanisms of daily life asea so long ago. There's also a whiff of H.P. Lovecraft's mysterious reverence to "the deep ones" and the cult of Dagon from "The Shadow Over Innsmouth", though this representation is more non-specific than your standard evil mermaids and the sirens of Greek mythology. A primordial, pagan-like devotion to an unnameable force grips the characters and entrances them, but whether it's the booze, the fact that many lighthouse lens mechanisms of the time were set in mercurial suspension, or Neptune himself, one thing is for certain: the insanity of THE LIGHTHOUSE is easily translatable and sits with MIDSOMMAR and CLIMAX as one of the most harrowing cinematic experiences of the year.
    Steve L Super Reviewer
  • Jan 19, 2020
    When Robert Eggers made his directorial debut in 2015 with The Witch, many critics and viewers lost their heads but it really didn't strike a chord with me. As much as it was very well made, I found it vastly overrated. With The Lighthouse, however, Eggers delivers exactly the kind of film I was expecting. This is a deeply psychological and haunting piece of work that's stunningly crafted with such meticulous attention to detail. Essentially it's a moody chamber-piece that relies heavily on the work of its two principal actors but both Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe are up to the task. It could frustrate some viewers in terms of its ambiguity but i found that a fully fitting approach in our characters' decent into isolated madness.
    Mark W Super Reviewer
  • Jan 13, 2020
    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

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