Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
Joel interviews the MIFF team to find out what's in this year's program announcement! Click to listen to our special SWITCHCast ep now.x
review, Light of My Life, Light, of, My, Life, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, home entertainment, DVD, Blu-ray, Casey Affleck, Anna Pniowsky, Elisabeth Moss, Tom Bower, Timothy Webber, Hrothgar Mathews, Monk Serrell Freed, Jesse James Pierce, Tommy Clarke, Lloyd Cunningham, Casey Affleck, Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller

LIGHT OF MY LIFE

★★★★

AN INTENSE TEST OF THE FATHER/DAUGHTER BOND

ONLINE ENTERTAINMENT
LATEST REVIEWS
By Jake Watt
31st May 2020

Let's address the elephant in the room.

Casey Affleck was #MeToo'd into obscurity following his Best Actor Oscar for 'Manchester By The Sea' a few years ago when he was accused of sexual harassment while directing 'I'm Still Here'. He settled two lawsuits about that harassment out of court, and then later admitted to a generally "unprofessional" atmosphere on that film.

For his next directing job, he decided to do a story where there are no grown women at all - except in flashbacks, where his wife is played by Elisabeth Moss.

Now, this isn't to say that he's not allowed to make a movie like 'Light of My Life' or that it somehow makes the movie bad by default. He can attempt to try to rehabilitate his public image. But this was a strange film for him to make. If you were wondering why it never hit Australian theatres... there it is.

A decade after a plague has wiped out nearly all of the world's female population, a father (Casey Affleck, 'Interstellar') and 11-year-old daughter, Rag (an excellent Anna Pniowsky) live in a tent in a wooded area on the outskirts of what's left of civilisation as they once knew it. Disguising his daughter as a boy, the father struggles to protect her from the constant threat of other male survivors as they are forced from their home and have to travel across the bitterly cold landscape of British Columbia. The father isn't a violent man, but he's prepared to defend his child at all costs.

Affleck's film is a constant slow burn for much of its two-hour runtime. The movie also opens with a 10-minute long scene of dialogue as the dad tells his daughter a funny story about a pair of foxes joining Noah's Ark, complete with an Aussie-accented Noah. Does this mean that this film is set in the same universe as Darren Aronofsky's bonkers sci-fi epic? I like to believe so.

It's reductive to say that 'Light of My Life' is a lot like John Hillcoat's 'The Road' just because they're both post-cataclysm films where a parent and child wander a dangerous wasteland. There are more similarities to James Tiptree Jr's 1977 short story 'The Screwfly Solution' (about a virus that causes men to hunt women in a murderous rage) as Affleck tackles the commodification of women head-on and to an extreme degree - the few surviving women mentioned in the film have been ripped to pieces by predators or are being "kept" in armed, makeshift communities of desperate men. There are also strong parallels to Debra Granik's 'Leave No Trace', as the film focuses almost exclusively on the bond between its two main characters, downplaying the Cormac McCarthy-ish scenario's bleakness (except when it suddenly, violently erupts) in order to fashion a portrait of someone who's struggling to raise his child normally in radically abnormal circumstances. Dad is constantly preparing for the worst-case scenario: going over escape routes, plans and setting up his various camping sites in case of a "red alert".

This is a post-pandemic story, a human versus nature story, a home invasion story, and a fairytale. Underneath it all, this is a film about a father grappling with his daughter's maturation.

The hauntingly, frosty landscapes of this bleak future are beautifully captured by Australian cinematographer Adam Arkapaw ('Animal Kingdom', 'Snowtown', 'Macbeth'). Not only can Arkapaw frame a shot like a portrait, he's also a master of picking out cool-looking trees to spice up his backdrops. Affleck has cited Chantal Akerman ('Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles') and Pawel Pawlikowski ('Ida') as inspiration for the way they create great tension with a static camera and sustained shots. The look of the film is complemented by a stripped-back and muted score by Daniel Hart, who previously worked with Affleck on 'Ain't Them Bodies Saints', 'A Ghost Story' and 'The Old Man & the Gun'.

This is a post-pandemic story, a human versus nature story, a home invasion story, and a fairytale. Underneath it all, this is a film about a father grappling with his daughter's maturation. Affleck's character needs to learn how to let go of his child and recognise that she is a lot more capable of surviving than he thinks she is.

It's a shame that Affleck's actions off-screen meant that 'Light of My Life' was destined to be lost in the movie release wilderness. Newcomer Anna Pniowsky matches Affleck's typically delicate, mumbling performance perfectly and they share a genuine, easy rapport onscreen, anchoring a touching (if intense) relationship drama.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: TBA
RUN TIME: 1h 59m
CAST: Casey Affleck
Anna Pniowsky
Elisabeth Moss
Tom Bower
Timothy Webber
Hrothgar Mathews
Monk Serrell Freed
Jesse James Pierce
Tommy Clarke
Lloyd Cunningham
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Casey Affleck
PRODUCERS: Casey Affleck
Teddy Schwarzman
John Powers Middleton
SCORE: Daniel Hart
LightOfMyLifeFilm
LOMLmovie
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
Cosmic Sin - A film that delivers on the promise of its title
TRENDINGCOSMIC SINA film that delivers on the promise of its title
Pocahontas - 25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
TRENDINGPOCAHONTAS25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
Who the hell is Bloodshot? - A primer on Vin Diesel's superhero
TRENDINGWHO THE HELL IS BLOODSHOT?A primer on Vin Diesel's superhero
Revisiting 'Dark City' 20 years later - The most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
TRENDINGREVISITING 'DARK CITY' 20 YEARS LATERThe most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
Gallipoli - A powerful and important film remembered
TRENDINGGALLIPOLIA powerful and important film remembered
The World at War - The landmark documentary series restored in high definition
TRENDINGTHE WORLD AT WARThe landmark documentary series restored in high definition
Malila: The Farewell Flower - Contemplating love and loss
TRENDINGMALILA: THE FAREWELL FLOWERContemplating love and loss
Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two - New villains, same problems
TRENDINGBATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN, PART TWONew villains, same problems
Buckley's Chance - Not worth a chance
TRENDINGBUCKLEY'S CHANCENot worth a chance
Calm with Horses - A savage and sensitive Irish crime drama
TRENDINGCALM WITH HORSESA savage and sensitive Irish crime drama
Shiva Baby - A comedy of discomfort
TRENDINGSHIVA BABYA comedy of discomfort
The Glass Room - Stunning yet soulless
TRENDINGTHE GLASS ROOMStunning yet soulless
Some Kind of Heaven - A bizarre lens into a Floridian retirement village
TRENDINGSOME KIND OF HEAVENA bizarre lens into a Floridian retirement village
25 Free-to-Watch Short Horror Films - The scariest shorts we uncovered online
TRENDING25 FREE-TO-WATCH SHORT HORROR FILMSThe scariest shorts we uncovered online
The Swallows of Kabul - Unflinching and gorgeously animated
TRENDINGTHE SWALLOWS OF KABULUnflinching and gorgeously animated
Cerulean Blue - Promising debut for a new voice in Australian cinema
TRENDINGCERULEAN BLUEPromising debut for a new voice in Australian cinema
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
TRENDINGTHE VIOLIN PLAYERSex and strings
2:22 - Mind-bending metaphysical mumbo-jumbo
TRENDING2:22Mind-bending metaphysical mumbo-jumbo
Birds of Prey - I'm here to report a terrible crime: DC has saved cinema
TRENDINGBIRDS OF PREYI'm here to report a terrible crime: DC has saved cinema
La Dolce Vita - Not as sweet as you'd think 60 years on
TRENDINGLA DOLCE VITANot as sweet as you'd think 60 years on
© 2011 - 2021 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us!