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‘The Wake of Light’ review: Romantic drama will please fans of the genre

A familiar love story.

The Wake of Light is an emotional romantic drama about finding love. Mary (Rome Brooks) lives with her father (William Lige Morton) who she has cared for since she was a child. When she meets Cole (Matt Bush) she is forced to make a difficult decision. She knows she has to follow her heart, but is it for the man she is in love with or the man she feels love for?

The story is a common one for those who enjoy romance stories. Two people fall in love and a hard choice has to be made. Tales of romances have more leeway than other genres. Following a formula is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean the performances and the depth of story will have to carry The Wake of Light. 

This will be difficult for some at first. Cole initially lacks the charm needed for the role, though it does not seem to be have been intentionally written that way. For instance, he basically forces himself into Mary’s life. As The Wake of Light progresses, he does win the audience over. Despite first impressions, he is a lonely and nervous person who is easy to root for.

Bush also does a great job of elevating the character. Cole- and to an extent, The Wake of Light – are constantly in danger of being mired in mediocrity. While writer-director Renji Phillip succeeds in crafting a personal film, it also lacks the spark seen in similar films. Things move without a sense of urgency. Cole makes the movie a better one.

'The Wake of Light' review: Romantic drama will please fans of the genre

The story is erratic, but it never loses the point. This is especially difficult since the plot adds a few unnecessary twists. Through it all, the burgeoning relationship between Mary and Cole shines through. The Wake of Light never goes all in on the melodrama or rom com hijinks. It is a touching story that is more about the journey people are going than the actual destination. 

Romantic dramas are allowed to get away with having a simple story. This means in order to stand out, they must excel in other ways, however. The Wake of Light is a decent romance tale that features great performances. It is a touching and personal tale. The story makes some missteps along the way but fans of the genre will enjoy the film.

The Wake of Light opens in select theaters January 15

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