Light of My Life (2019)
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Casey Affleck writes, directs and stars. And he is good. Without his usual Bawston drawl, Affleck is actually intelligible, which helps. Helps a lot. As a good guy on the run, even when there appears nowhere to go, Affleck delivers a stark little masterpiece that digs deep into a parent and child bond whilst the outside world is crumbling to hell. Similar to Cormac McCarthy's "The Road", "Light of My Life" relies heavily on the leads, and they shine. They shine when wet, when muddy, when frozen, when filthy, when bloody.
In the end it's not where they go, or what happens, it's about their little world, their unique connection. Affleck and Anna Pniowsky own the screen from the unforgettable opening sequence to the thrilling end. Easy to root for, this one is. Except for the terrible title of course.
Affleck's sincerity is a dangerous animal. I fear it. He shakes you and rattles your most delicate source of emotional history. Or maybe it is the emotional history that I carry and hence easily find myself in his shoes. Ergo I find this story inspirationally and creatively beautiful. In fact, there have been such films in recent years like The Road, Captain Fantastic and Leave No Trace. But none of them worked for me like this eccentrically standard film did. It is shot with familiar steady camera work. Cassey Affleck, the writer, director and actor, was aware of how and where things should go.
And it is not just a reminder of how good his execution is, it is also that as an artist, he isn't leaning towards any particular aspect, his generality seems like a generosity towards his work. And if his monologues or manifesto or speech or call it whatever cuts through all the fear then it is his final voice breaking spell, is what tears me down. So strong and so proud he marches on, in the entire film and so humbling his fall is in front of his daughter.
These metaphors of being a parent, political correctness and the madness of wildlife carries heavy themes. Compared to the previous films mentions, the reason why this one last a longer impact on us, is for it goes all in when it comes to reveal its true nature. The film isn't afraid on wandering in a cringe worthy zone, it is meticulously on mark to what it has to say. Just watch Affleck have the "birds and bees" talk with an unapologetic honest tone. Elizabeth Miss flashes in front of her eyes repeatedly whipping him whenever he trails off, when his vision goes blur from the Light Of My Life.
I would have given this movie 4/10 stars but I'll briefly explain why I gave it a 6/10. The acting was decent and honestly it had my heart pumping at times.
However, the story line is super predictable and there really isn't any key differences in the plot if you've watched movies like, I am Legend, The book of Eli, and The Road. The Road especially because when I was watching this I had major dejavu thinking that I've seen this before. (Infact I basically have) If you've watched, "The Road" before viewing this, it's not really worth the 2 hrs of watching it. The reason I'm giving this movie a 6/10 is because if I had never seen the movies I've mentioned above this I would say it's a decent movie.
So, in conclusion I wish Hollywood would stop churning out all these post apocalyptic movies until they find a plot that hasnt been seen before.
Visually Stunning - Those trees and mountains, my goodness!
Incredibly Acted - I know the girl is getting a lot of praise for this, as she should, but the real master at work here (I think) is Casey. What an open, touching, raw performance he gave!
Beautifully shot - Simple but stunning camera work
Believable - Every moment felt real and very believable. I'm certain things would go down in a very similar fashion if this event ever actually happened. Change my mind.
This is a very touching story. I felt every emotion, from the humor to the nearly paralyzing fear to the awkward way he tried to explain the birds and the bees (well done, still awkward as it would be).
Very nicely done!
This would be better suited for a theater than a move.
I would have given all I owned to spend as much time with one of my daughters as Dad (Casey Affleck) does with his daughter, Rag (Anna Pniowsky), dressed like a boy, on the run from a disease that strikes only females. In Light of My Life, they roam the grey Okanaga Valley of British Columbia seeking refuge as much from bands of men looking for uninfected girls as from the plague itself.
If you can endure the overly-long opening story dad lovingly tells daughter, the almost two hours will fly by as the protagonists combat daunting obstacles.
The thoughts of the decimation of the female population are horror-film good enough for the imagination, so minimalist writer/director Affleck spares us the usual terrible tropes to concentrate on the loving relationship. As he does in his Oscar-winning acting, Affleck concentrates on the slow-burning details.
That Affleck himself faced possible Oscar-negating accusations of sexual harassment makes his holy father here even more interesting than, say, Ben Foster's father character in Leave No Trace.
Survival is the operating action here, mainly slipping out of windows as men storm the house or tent. Father and daughter are adept at escape, leaving only that motif for tension, whereas if they fought with each other (a pre-teen and her dad holds multiple possibilities) there might be more interesting conflict.
As in It Comes at Night (2017), the cloaked assailants and the disease give the imagination the usual willies, but fascination with the survival of a father-daughter left to survive is the greatest conflict of all. You'll enjoy all of Affleck's indie charms and insights in a quietly effective thriller.
"To survive it is often necessary to fight and to fight you have to dirty yourself." George Orwell