Light of My Life Parent Guide
A taut, terrifying film that uses superb writing instead of violence to create fear and suspense. A great choice for adults and older teens who want to be scared and challenged.
Parent Movie Review
“Dad” (Casey Affleck) and his wife, “Mom” (Elisabeth Moss), expect to enjoy a long life together with their newborn daughter, Ann (Anna Pniowsky), who they call Raggedy Anne, or Rag for short. That expectation is dashed when a plague breaks out that only affects women - the world population is halved as women begin dying en masse, including Mom. Ann, however, seems to be immune. Her only hope of survival in the new society is to pretend to be a boy, something Dad will have to help her with…
While this film has no sexual content, the unspoken threat of rape lingers over every scene like a vulture. The men (other than Dad) are typically threatening figures- tall, dark, mysterious, and dangerous. Only a few make any attempt to take Rag, but the audience’s knowledge of what will happen if they succeed is enough to make the movie almost unbearably tense.
This is probably a much scarier movie for women to watch than for me. I’m very aware of the inherent dangers in being a woman, but that doesn’t mean I have any of the memories or experiences women do with predatory men. This also isn’t a great movie to watch if you’re a nervous parent, since the idea of having to protect your child against such horrific consequences is enough to make you break out in a cold sweat.
If parents can manage to detach themselves from the constant anxiety inherent in the story, Light of My Life is a beautiful film to watch. Shot in the Okanagan Valley of Canada’s British Columbia province, the landscapes and environment practically serve as an additional character - one divided between the safety of the close, dark forest and the hazards of open fields and snow-covered mountains. The dialogue also feels intimately real and natural - you won’t find any prepared speeches out of a can here. Just concerned father and worried daughter, trying to navigate a difficult life in a harsh world, with all the stammering and awkward phrasing that comes with it.
The biggest mystery of this film is how it got an “R” rating from the MPAA. With one possible profanity, no sexual content, and much less violence than you’d see in a PG-13 action flick like Hobbs & Shaw, I’m at a loss to explain a “Restricted” label. Admittedly, the content is intense and dark, but that alone doesn’t merit such a strong rating. I think the film would be better suited to a PG-13 classification, with an advisory about the thematic nature of the film.
If you can stand the apprehension and the worry, this is definitely a movie worth watching. While it doesn’t always succeed in supplying answers, it asks a lot of important questions. The acting is excellent, and the writing serves the tension inherent in the subject matter and the tight screenplay. Bear in mind: Light of My Life is more than a little dark. You’ve just got to look for the bright spots in between.Directed by Casey Affleck. Starring Anna Pniowsky, Casey Affleck,and Tom Bower.. Running time: 119 minutes. Theatrical release August 9, 2019. Updated August 13, 2019
Watch the trailer for Light of My Life
Light of My Life
Rating & Content Info
Why is Light of My Life rated R? Light of My Life is rated R by the MPAA for some violence.
Violence: Two dead bodies are briefly shown partially mummified. A fight occurs involving a lot of grappling and punching, and results in one man being killed with a hammer and another being beaten against a floor until either dead or unconscious. Two men are shot. A bullet is shown being removed from a man’s side. Two more dead bodies are shown with some blood.
Sexual Content: An individual gives a child “The Talk” but it is very nonspecific.
Profanity: There is potentially one use of extreme profanity (it might also have just been a grunt) and no other language.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A man is shown having a glass of whiskey as a nightcap. No other substance use is shown or referenced.
Page last updated August 13, 2019
Light of My Life Parents' Guide
Dad talks to Rag a lot about why he makes the decisions he makes, and how he thinks about problems. Do you talk to your children about the same issues, or just give the decisions without reasons? Which do you think is more effective? Do you think older children are entitled to understand why you make the decisions for them that you do?
Do you think Dad should be more open with Rag about the threats she faces? The world she lives in is very dangerous for her, and while she clearly understands this, it’s not clear if she always understands why. At what age do you think that conversation would be appropriate?
Dad has isolated what’s left of his family from society to protect Rag. Do you think this was the right choice? What consequences has this had for Dad? And for Rag?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Children of Men and The Road are both dystopic novels suitable for adult readers. Arthur M. Miller’s A Canticle for Liebowitz focuses less on family and more on the rebirth of human society after the apocalypse.
Related home video titles:
Parents looking for child-friendly movies featuring two protagonists working together on the fringes of a damaged society would do well to pick Wall-E.
When an unknown disease kills half of all children and leaves the survivors with unusual mental powers, society is thrown into upheaval in The Darkest Minds.
Older audiences would do well to look at Searching, starring John Cho, features a father looking for his abducted daughter, and the horrors for the parents of children in danger.