Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with news anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including the Melissa McCarthy mob story “The Kitchen,” the kid’s horror “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” the family adventure of “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” and the Casey Affleck drama :Light of My Life.”
Richard has a look at the new movies coming to theatres, including the live action “Dora and the Lost City of Gold,” the mildly scary “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” the family drama “Luce” and the mob tale “The Kitchen” with CFRA morning show guest host Matt Harris.
“Light of my Life,” a quiet new film written, directed and starring Casey Affleck, is a thriller that follows in the footsteps of “Children of Men,” imagining a world in which women were wiped out by a virus.
Affleck plays the father of Rag (Anna Pniowsky), a tween he’s raising in the wilderness, far from prying eyes. As a devoted father he understands that a world without women presents terrible danger to his daughter and he protects her no matter what. When an old man stumbles across their camp Rag is introduced as “my son Alex,” and while the interloper seems to buy their story, dad knows they have to hit the road before word spreads.
Through flashbacks we see the life they had before the virus, when Rag was a baby and her mother, played by Elisabeth Moss, was still alive. They play in stark contrast to their current nomadic, uncertain existence in the wood.
By the time they arrive at a would-be sanctuary—“It’s got a boat with a lake and it’s really far away from everyone.”—the world catches up with them, forcing Rags to grow up before her time.
“Light of my Life” is a low-key dystopian drama that feels like a pastiche of a number of recent films and television shows. Echoes of “Children of Men,” last year’s “Leave No Trace” and “The Road” with a dollop of “The Handmaid’s Tale” form the backbone while Affleck relies on the rapport with Pniowsky to give the bleak story a human touch. The slow-moving, ponderous story allows the viewer to get a sense of their bond. It takes time to establish the gravity of the situation, and Affleck lets the clock run, but an opening ten-minute monologue, punctuated by questions from Rags, may be the very definition of self-indulgent.
“Light of my Life” isn’t Affleck’s first film since #MeToo allegations were leveled against him and settled out of court, but it is thematically the most startling. Some will see Affleck painting himself as a protector of women in a world where all women are in imminent danger of violence, sexual or otherwise. Others will see a movie that attempts to atone for the sins of its creator, a film that suggests, be careful, you can’t always know what is in the hearts of men. Either way, it feels like a response to the claims of sexual harassment and its effectiveness will, by and large, depend on how you feel about the actor and VERY long monologues.