From actor Casey Affleck comes Light of My Life—a film, he wrote, directed, and starred. It’s a simple movie with a simple, yet powerful idea behind it. On the outset, it may feel a lot like an episode of The Walking Dead…substituting zombies for a global plague. This is the story of Dad (Casey Affleck) and his daughter, Rag (Anna Pniowsky) and it challenges the patriarchal role of men as the protector and provider forcing Dad to empower his daughter to take responsibility for her own survival.
The world as we know it has been hit by a plague that killed half the population (for the third time this year). As it stands, the survivors are mostly men and women are a scarcity. Dad has Rag cut her hair short and dress like a boy. Frankly, women are a commodity to be stolen, kidnapped, and collected (see One Child Nation) and Dad vows not to keep Rag out of harm’s way to the point of being over-protective. Can you blame him?
Light of My Life sees the world through the eyes of Dad and Rag. They are in every scene, and audiences are only allowed to observe and experience what these two characters are going through. Much of their time is spent finding isolated locations to camp in the woods, locating and bartering for supplies, and not attract any suspicion upon themselves that Rag is really a girl.
“Dad has Rag cut her hair short and dress like a boy.”
Thematically, the movie is about family in extreme circumstances. First, there’s dad running himself to the point of exhaustion. At one point, the two find an abandoned house. They know it’s not safe, but it’s much-needed shelter from the cold. Dad goes through the house looking for supplies, creating hiding spaces for themselves and their camping gear, just in case they need to escape quickly. And guess what…?
Second, the film is about parenting. Rag was a toddler when Mom (Elizabeth Moss) died from the plague. Dad has been playing the role as single father. There’s a hilarious scene when Dad teaches Rag about periods, racism, and sex in a single setting. As Rag grows older, she begins to wonder if how much longer Dad can assume the role of protector.
"…Dad teaches Rag about periods, racism, and sex in a single setting...""
Is there a part 2
Loved the movie; I almost stopped watching it after 10 minutes because it,s so slow at the beginning but I,m glad I continued to the end. Good storyline even tho I never watch anything sci-fi, aliens etc… Tonight I watched Leave no Trace with Ben Foster; a bit different but still both films dealing with growing issues, between fathers and daughters.
I just finished watching the movie and had tears running down my face. I thought the father daughter relationship was beautiful.
While preparing her for dangerous situations Dad still reserved time for Rag to be a child. I can understand the awkwardness of the puberty talk simply due to the fact that most Father’s prefer not to see their daughters as sexual beings. In light of their circumstances and the simple fact he tries to present her as a boy it’s understandable “the talk” would be an awkward one.
Though we often want to see stories with a tidy ending we can see that the daughter saw herself as a pillar of strength. Through it all, her father protected her and taught her how to be a strong woman. In the end she held him in her arms like she were the parent and he were the child while looking out into the unknown.
It was a beautiful story of love and devotion between a father and his daughter. I loved it.
Did calvin bring the men?
What happened to calvin
Why did Calvin Close the door and not use his Rifle when the three men came to the house? Did he turn them in? Did he rely on his faith? Was he giving up before even fighting. Why did he end up dead. How did they find out they were there. What was the symbology of that. I am annoyed by the lack of clarity there. I thought there were terrific moments in this movie that were very tender and terrifying simultaneously. I liked the storytelling on the dialogue. I do think it fell short and I feel disappointed. I wanted more from this movie than it provided. I don’t wanna a 2nd movie, I just want this one to be a little more generous with backstory, & Character development so we can understand more of their losses.
Interesting movie in some ways.
But disappointing in other ways.
Here’s my list of comments:
(NOTE: possible spoilers)
1. Kinda funny that he erronously told his daughter that menstruation comes ‘out of the pee hole’. And it was left that way – never corrected by the father from reading a book or something.
But I didn’t totally understand his discomfort with the subject of sex because he was so open & forthright with her about every other subject or question. Also, he seemed wise about the wilderness – (reproduction would naturally be a subject of conversation) but other than fish, there seem to be no birds or wild life at all – did the plague affect them too? (the sheep survived at the farm)
Anyway, the dad seemed too hip-of-a father to flounder so badly in this conversation. Maybe this scene was meant as a statement illustrating just how little some men really know about the mechanics of reproduction?
Which brings me to point number 2;
The child’s nickname was ‘Rag’ . . . you see what I’m sayin’? I KNOW we are finally told that it’s an affectionate name short for ‘Raggedy Anne’, but still . . . the word has long been a rather disgusting & derogatory word for a woman’s period. I just also don’t fully understand why anyone would think that was a good choice for a nickname, especially for a girl, especially in that strange circumstance. I can’t help but think ahead to what she would think of it when she’s older, if she ever survived to be around people again, or was taken by males. Again, was it a statement?
3. A lot of reviews mention how the movie drags on – but I found that the pace did work very well make you feel the daily drudgery, worry, and suspense of their lifestyle – which made it more realistic.
I liked the fight scenes the dad had. They were not cut & dried, quick heroic scenes, nor was any choreography obvious. The fights seemed totally real, desperate, and sloppy and the dad suffered more after each bout.
4. The male populated areas did not seem realistic. If Afflek wanted to make the towns or populated areas realistic – he should’a had some guys in drag – bc anywhere males-only are dwelling together that is the M.O. – which of course certainly would have created a lot of questions from the child . . .
Maybe there should have been a little more backstory?
Maybe Affleck will write a full on book.
5. Because – other than the fact that all we know is a plague killed females, we don’t really know how it affected males. Did it reduce their drive? It is insinuated that the situation made them worse. But in the town scenes, and the two scenes where men came to the houses, and even the 3 older men, all the males shown seemed sort of lethargic, calm & quiet. I still dont understand why the 3 older men were not handily prepared to defend themselves. The bad guy in the attic only had a hammer. One had no weapon.
5. I hated the ending. Sometimes movies that leave you hanging allow for a lot of great conversation and ideas about what might happen. But this one left way too much empty space.
Again, I think it must be a statement about that particular society. I mean, there are really only a few options:
the dad eventually dies by murder or something, and the child either dies, gets taken, or survives by living like a wild animal for the rest of her life.
I know the dad mentions a safe place – but it just seems like in his exhaustion, and to create hope, he entertains that unrealistic idea.
Also, when she vomits it’s insinuated that she does so frequently – so by implication are we to understand she may die from residual plague or be building immunity to fight it?
In every situation it’s interesting how the father both explains & displays the desperation of their situation & is so forthright with plans, while not being able to fully explain reproduction, and all at the same time, holding back reality from his daughter in several areas to the point of creating fairy tales, which I suppose he does to prevent her from feeling terror every moment which she certainly would if she knew what would happen to her in the hands of the evil men.
Very human juggling that dad!
Finally, it’s interesting to think what you would do in such a situation.
My instinct would be to teach her how to kill herself if she fell into the hands of horrible people.
How do you think you could survive & protect?
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