A Bit of Light Review: Deeply Thoughtful Magical Realism

A Bit of Light Review: Deeply Thoughtful Magical Realism

Anna Paquin stars as a woman at a crossroads in her life in A Bit Of Light. Our review…

“There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in”, so goes the song Anthem by Leonard Cohen. In the darkest of places, it is hope that is the light and in this adaptation of a play written by and adapted by Rebecca Callard and directed by Stephen Moyer, hope comes in many forms as it tells the story of a mother, Ella (Anna Paquin who is married to Moyer) on the road to sobriety who is longing for the return of her two daughters.

Forty-year-old Ella lives with her devoted dad (Ray Winstone). She’s stuck in her sadness when she meets precocious thirteen-year-old Neil (excellent newcomer Luca Hogan) who is full of wisdom and humour, and shares her great taste in music and love for Prince and parks. They strike up a sweet and strange friendship after Neil offers his observation: “You look really sad, I wanna help.” He’s like a guardian angel and a straight-talking character reminiscent of Cary Grant in The Bishop’s Wife.

The screenplay by Callard is deeply thoughtful on themes of loss, addiction, compassion, empathy, community and family. It keeps things mysterious adding an air of magical realism which keeps you guessing as to the reality of the relationships between certain characters.

In the lead role, Paquin doesn’t quite nail the emotional outbursts with enough nuance but her scenes with Hogan and Winstone hold attention thanks to the way she portrays her underlying sadness. Winstone’s quietly powerful and sensitive turn is a real highlight of the film and it’s profoundly moving to watch how he conveys the frustration and adoration of a father who only wants his child to succeed and overcome her demons.

This is a beautifully written film with a strong understanding of the cracks that appear in people over time as they wrestle with emotional baggage and multiple obstacles. A Bit of Light pays lovely tribute not only to those who are a bit broken but also those who continue to show up for them through thick and thin. Bring tissues.

A Bit Of Light will be released on 5 April