‘It’s just you and me…’
Casey Affleck is a vastly underrated actor. He has picked a variety of disparate and interesting roles over the years including highly acclaimed turns in both Manchester By the Sea and A Ghost Story. He has stepped out of his brother’s bat shaped shadow to become Hollywood royalty in his own right. He also always seems ever so slightly sad. I’d like to go for a beer with Casey Affleck is basically what I’m driving at. He seems like a good guy. Light of My Life is his second directorial feature, after the troubled I’m Still Here, and like everything that the New Jersey native turns his hand to, it’s a quiet success…
Caleb (Affleck) is a loving father who is attempting to navigate his only daughter (Anna Pniowsky) through a world in which all the women have been wiped out by some unknown event. Rather than the world of logic and beer hats that one might expect in that scenario, a totally patriarchal society has descended into violence and misery.
There are clearly parallels to be drawn here. The Road, Leave No Trace and Children of Men are obvious touchstones, but as Affleck himself explains ‘I know it (the concept) has been used a lot, but trying to do something nobody has ever done seems like silly hubris. Might as well embrace my role in the bigger picture.’ And he’s absolutely right. The job of a filmmaker, heck a storyteller, is to make something true, something real, and hope that any potential audience taps into what your feeling. Affleck does this with Light of My Life and his astonishing performance is matched every step of the way by Anna Pniowsky – in what must have been an emotionally demanding role.
As this is a project released since 2015, Elizabeth Moss is contractually obliged to appear somewhere, here it is in flashback form, and as usual, she is affecting and authentic. But this is Affleck’s film.
Light of My Life isn’t groundbreaking. It isn’t original. But it is heartfelt and compelling and it hit me right in the feels. It deserves a bigger audience.