“All the Light We Cannot See” is a four-part miniseries from Netflix based on the best-selling novel by Anthony Doerr with the same title. It is an inspiring tale set during World War II between a blind French girl named Marie and a German soldier named Werner. Other main characters include Marie’s father Daniel, her great grand uncle Etienne and the main villain Reinhold von Rumpel (a Nazi officer looking for the precious jewel called the Sea of Flames).
While the book itself became a major best-seller, this miniseries received many negative reviews and has garnered a mere 24% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
I haven’t read the book yet and so I cannot say whether the low ratings of the series were brought about by failing to be at par with the book. But watching the series itself, I cannot agree with most critics giving this series a very low rating.
I was able to enjoy the series that’s like a breath of fresh air amidst so many films today that seem to focus more on CGI special effects rather than the story itself. I also appreciated the natural motivation of the main characters that made them feel sincere instead of stuffing them with so much angst and complexities just to make an emotional impact.
Some viewers may have wanted to see more, but I was happy with what I watched.
I particularly liked the lessons that I have learned from the series. Lessons that may seem “cliché” for some, but very much worth mentioning for me.
Why should we be ashamed of speaking about goodness and truth just because what’s in are themes that are filled with so much darkness and despair?
We already live at a time so close to hopelessness. Why shouldn’t we make use of every means to find light and beauty whenever we can?
So without further ado, I would like to share some of the lessons (and quotes) that stayed with me from “All the Light We Cannot See”:
1. Our disabilities need not hinder us from fulfilling our mission in life
Marie was a French girl who was blind. However, her disability did not hinder her from fulfilling her role as a daughter and later on, as part of the resistance against the invading forces.
Using the radio, she was able to help communicate coded information to help free her country from the Germans.
“I’m different. I know I am.” – Marie
“The only different thing about you is that you’re willing to carry a heavy weight at your side in order to hear the truth, which is one of the many extraordinary things about you, Marie.” – Daniel
2. There can be compassion even between enemies
The other protagonist of the series is Werner, a German soldier who has a fascination for technology, especially when it comes to operating the radio.
Although he came from a race considered to be an enemy, he did not let political ideologies close his heart to compassion.
“For one hour of the day, I want to listen to kindness and reason.” – Werner
3. Life without love is a meaningless existence
In the story, Reinhold von Rumpel was searching for the precious jewel called the Sea of Flames. This was because he was critically ill and he believed that the cursed jewel could bestow eternal life to those who possess it. The catch is that the jewel’s curse would also cause something terrible to happen to your loved ones.
Just seeing this character let me feel how his life has already been cursed even before he finds the jewel. He cared only for himself and did not love anyone else. His was a very empty existence.
“You believe the Sea of Flames will give you eternal life? I’m sorry. Death will come for you. But if you love someone…love is what outlasts it. Which is why my daughter lives in light, not darkness.” – Daniel
4. We can find hope even in the darkest of times
What could be a more terrible time to live than a time of war? Injustice is everywhere, the weak are bullied and hardly anyone practices kindness and compassion.
But we cannot choose the time we live in. All we can do is cling to our hope that even darkness cannot last and we can see light again.
“I know that times are dark right now, children, but trust always that light does prevail.” – The Professor
Final thoughts on All the Light We Cannot See
I can’t help but relate to the movie when it comes to the time we’re living in. War may not exist yet where we are, but it doesn’t seem so far away. And we’re already living at a time of great spiritual struggle where there is a fierce battle between good and evil.
Amidst all such darkness, let us not lose hope. The light we see around us may be growing dim, but that doesn’t mean it cannot be found.
“…the light you get from a piece of coal is actually sunlight. The point is… light lasts forever. For a billion years inside a piece of coal. But darkness… Darkness lasts not even for one second when you turn on the light.” – Marie, All the Light We Cannot See