All the Light We Cannot See. Aria Mia Loberti as Marie-Laure in a scene from “All the Light You Cannot See.” Atsushi Nishijima/Netflix

For a very long time, we’ve read the praises of Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize “All The Light We Cannot See,” his biggest book that has captured the praise of readers world wide.

It’s impressive to learn that in the 10 years it took him to finish it, he wrote six other books that won him various prizes, but it was “Light” that captured the book readers of the literary world and provided the work with plenty of rich accolades and give him the Pulitzer, which I’m sure he deserved.

“All the Light” is brought to us in four separate Netflix segments, and has more twists and turns than Augusta’s notorious rotary.

I can tell you this: “All the Light” is the sad story of a blind, (no dark movie glasses in World War II please) gorgeous French girl, Marie-Laure LeBlanc (Aria Mia Loberti), left alone in the bombed-out village of Saint-Malo in 1944, where, in the shattered attic of a once-lovely home, she spends the nights on a shortwave radio reading, in braille of course, a version of the science-fiction novel “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea,” which we discover, was loaded with resistance codes.

But, as any writer can tell you, something happened on the way to Hollywood. Somewhere in the palm-shaded glory land, Doerr’s story went off the tracks. Say what you will about “Rotten’s” ratings, they look here like, for the most part, a back door light at a roadside diner.

“All the Light” did have a talented cast of what was once, pre-strike, a coterie of solid employable actors.


Some, not all, in this Stephen Spielberg-like soap opera drama, are awfully miscast like Lars Eidinger’s over-the-top Nazi officer Reinhold von Rumpel, a Nazi “Inspector Javert” who plays his role like Kenneth Mars’ Franz Liebkind in Mel Blanc’s “The Producer’s.” But not as funny.

Those of you in your living rooms who have read and loved the book, are given these other familiar faces to see.

The always fine, but unused Mark Ruffalo is Marie’s beleaguer Jewish jeweler, and the master locksmith at Paris’ Museum of Natural History.

It was there that he was entrusted with the hidden star of the story, “The Sea of Flames,” a gigantic jewel bigger than Ivanka Trump’s engagement ring, and one of the exact copies the museum made to fool the Nazis.

Make of that what you will. Maybe just read the book to learn details.

The love interest here is the stranded young German code and radio expert Werner Pfennig (Louis Hofman) as the story’s “Good Nazi.” Hofman is good, but trapped in a boring part.


The always dependable Hugh Laurie pops in and out of hidden doors, as Marie’s uncle Etienne LeBlanc, who, like Ruffalo, is in hiding but apparently happy with that condition.

I’ve only seen two of the four segments, and can tell you this much.

More generous viewers tell me that the remaining chapters are, if nothing else, fun to watch in these genuine bad times.

As the rule, ignore the reviews and make up your own mind.

“All the Light We Cannot See” streams on Netflix. It premiered on Nov. 2.

J.P. Devine of Waterville is a former stage and screen actor.

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