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geezer cinema: light from light (paul harrill, 2019)

Small film, the kind that does the festival circuit and then, as often as not, disappears. The big name in the cast is stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan, who underplays nicely. The female lead is Marin Ireland, a Tony-nominated stage actress who turns up in a few movies and TV episodes every year without becoming anywhere near a household name. She's the best thing about the movie, quietly intelligent and modestly emotional when necessary.

Paul Harrill, who also wrote the film, seems determined to keep things low-key. It's a ghost story but not really, with the seeming supernatural touches existing only to help illuminate the characters, suffering from various forms of grief. In fact, if someone stumbled into Light from Light expecting special effects and scary moments, they would be disappointed in the extreme. The movie is only 82 minutes and moves slowly, yet I was surprised when it ended ... despite the pacing, I felt like things were just getting started. I thought we'd seen maybe an hour, yet in fact it was over. This is not a bad thing ... Harrill ends things at precisely the right moment, with nothing resolved but with the sense that the characters in the film have learned something about themselves. The audience has learned about the characters, too. It's a cautious character study that never overwhelms ... indeed, it never intends to.


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