Title – Light of My Life (2019)
Director – Casey Affleck (I’m Still Here)
Cast – Casey Affleck, Anna Pniowsky, Elizabeth Moss, Tom Bower
Plot – A father (Affleck) and his young daughter Rag (Pniowsky) must live out their lives in a constant state of alert a decade on since a vicious plague wiped out a large portion of the worlds female population.
“Do I have the plague?”
Review by Eddie on 29/06/2020
After remaining relatively quiet in the time since he took out a Best Actor Oscar for his deservedly lauded role in Manchester by the Sea, Casey Affleck has put a troubled few years behind him to deliver what could well be his career defining achievement as a writer and director, Light of My Life.
A strangely forgotten about 2019 release, one that saw muted critical reactions and a direct to streaming/disc release in most territories, Light is most certainly not commercially viable cinematic material but Affleck’s thoughtful, heartfelt and emotionally powerful drama about a father and daughter duo is a film worth paying attention to as Affleck and his team of talented behind the scenes and in front of camera members deliver the goods.
Similar in vibe and tone to classic post-apocalyptic genre entries Children of Men and The Road, Light strips back a devastating landscape in which most of the worlds female population has been wiped out by a deadly plague, leaving Affleck’s dedicated father in sole care of his wise thinking and caring daughter known as Rag, in what becomes an intimate character study of parental bonds around a concept that in other hands would’ve become nothing more than a generic Hollywood offering.
It’s the slow yet considered pacing of Affleck’s film that no doubt held it back from reaching a wide audience and no doubt a large reason as to why it was left in the lurch by its studio, a mighty shame for all however as all that just means many were never able to partake in this emotionally rich tale that features some of 2019’s very best acting from Affleck and relative newcomer Anna Pniowsky, who firmly establishes herself as one of the brightest young talents in the land on the back of her performance here.
From the moment we are introduced to Affleck and Pniowsky, huddled up close in a flimsy tent as Affleck’s recounts a story to Rag, the film barely strays from the duo as they encounter the best and worst of humanity, that reaches a genuinely heart in mouth finale after many more quiet moments that came before it.
These two actors command the screen, generating a chemistry and connection that is all too rare in today’s more spectacle focussed climate and in a just world Affleck and Pniowsky would’ve found themselves very much a part of end of year award discussions.
When combined with A Ghost Story and Pete’s Dragon composer Daniel Hart’s sparse but soulful score and Australian D.O.P Adam Arkapaw’s magnificent eye for the visual, Light becomes a complete package of a film, one filled with heart and warmth and some of the most realistic depictions of life in a world thrown into chaos and what that means for the everyday people that we’ve yet seen come from Hollywood.
Final Say –
Affleck and his young co-star Pniowsky shine in a film that has sadly been overlooked by many. An emotionally stirring piece of art that is as well written, acted and shot as any other 2019 film, Light of My Life is brilliantly realised drama, the likes of which are now all too rare in the blockbuster focussed environment we find ourselves in.
4 ½ emergency bags out of 5