[TV REVIEW] From book to screen: ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ takes on a new form

BROADCAST MUST GO ON. After a bomb lands on Marie-Laure Leblanc (Aria Mia Loberti)s house where she broadcasts during WWII, she gets right back up and continues reading  her book in braille in order to send out important messages for the war.
BROADCAST MUST GO ON. After a bomb lands on Marie-Laure Leblanc (Aria Mia Loberti)’s house where she broadcasts during WWII, she gets right back up and continues reading her book in braille in order to send out important messages for the war.
(Credit: Fair Use Image: YouTube Screen Capture)

“Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever,” was the final message Marie-Laure Leblanc sent out in her last broadcast of the night. The Netflix series All the Light We Cannot See slowly enchants the viewers and keeps them on the edge of their seats as the story takes them along with a blind girl and a young Nazi German soldier, Marie-Laure Leblanc (Aria Mia Loberti) and Werner Pfennig (Louis Hofmann), through the twists and turns of survival during WWII.

All the Light We Cannot See is a four part historical fiction series that started out as a book in 2014 and was recently made into a TV series on Nov. 2. The story takes place in a small, locked-down city called Saint-Malo in France, where a Nazi German officer, Reinhold von Rumpel (Lars Eidinger) is hunting down Marie in order to find the rare and magical jewel called the Sea of Flames, that is also supposedly cursed so that the loved ones of anyone that touches it will suffer a great misfortune in exchange for the person to live forever.

Even though Marie’s broadcasts are secretly coded messages meant to help the American soldiers know their coordinates, the broadcasts also unexpectedly became the first connection that was formed between Werner and Marie.

The night when Werner and the last of his unit knew they were going to be bombed was also the same night Werner discovered Marie’s broadcast on wave 13.10. However, after the bombs fell, only Werner’s unit was crushed by the rubble, and Werner fortunately survived and continued to tune into Marie’s broadcast as he was required to monitor the radio.

Werner became more attached to and protective of the mystery girl illegally broadcasting stories on the radio as the first episode goes on, and he continues to tune into wave 13.10 to listen to her speak. It turns out, the two teenagers both had listened to the same professor who had talked about light and dark as young kids on the very same wavelength Marie broadcasts on every night.

Throughout the first episode, Marie and Werner are both struggling with the despair and harshness of the war, and their desperation for survival as well as fighting for what is right is shown as the story goes on.

What is so interesting about Marie-Laure is that the actor that plays her is also legally blind with achromatopsia, which makes Loberti unable to see color, forcing her to live in a world that cannot be easily perceived. The choice the producer, Shawn Levy, made to cast an actual blind actor for a character that is blind is commendable and fascinating. Although one may think that it would only make sense for a blind person to play a blind character, many shows such as The Dark, Margarita with a Straw, and more, actually casted seeing actors for blind character roles.

Finally, it is also curious to see a show that features a time in WWII that doesn’t only focus on the tragedy happening in Germany, but also other places that were heavily affected by the war, and All the Light We Cannot See was able to portray a slice of the other areas of Europe, where common citizens were affected.
Although the plot was rather predictable and it was rather easy to tell what was likely to happen next, the cinematography of the show was excellent and the storyline was interesting. This series would be a good fit for those looking for a story that tugs on heartstrings and makes the viewers tense with suspense.

Rating: ★★★

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