Light of Day (1987)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Family Drama, Musical Drama, Showbiz Drama  |   Release Date - Feb 6, 1987 (USA)  |   Run Time - 107 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Although marketed as a Joan Jett rock & roll movie, Paul Schrader's thoughtful family drama harks back to the working-class angst of his earlier Blue Collar (1978). Focusing on the conflict between Joan Jett as a passionately dedicated rock & roller/unwed mother and her equally fierce holy-roller mother (Gena Rowlands), the film is a tragedy of locked wills. As Michael J. Fox, Jett's factory worker/bandmate brother, tries to mediate between the two to hold the family together, the film charts shifting relationships among the three. One of the very few films to dwell on the grimy realities of the rock & roll life, Light of Day is a parable on the cost of ambition. Fox works hard here, but is typically out of his depth with dramatic material, and looks as though either of these woman could have him for breakfast. Rowlands is exceptional as the rigidly dogmatic, slyly manipulative mother, and Jett, especially in her final scenes with Rowlands, shows a surprising ability to hold her own with the veteran actress. Schrader opts for his characteristically static compositions, which seem unsuited to the dynamic nature of the material. Despite the presence of Jett and Fox, the film didn't fare well commercially.