Daylight follows Irene and Daniel into their morning and throughout a day that threatens to shatter their entire lives; one raw, emotional synapse at a time. A very pregnant Irene (played by a very pregnant Alexandra Meierhans) begins the day questioning her decision to marry her fiancé, Daniel (Aidan Redmond). Daniel, in turn, finds himself nervous to see Irene’s father at the wedding they’re headed to later that day. Immediately, the nuances of the relationship are explored as we witness the boredom, tenderness and frustration all within the first ten minutes of the film.
The moments here, the vignettes of each subtle variation in each main character’s development are handled with painstaking care, leaving the frailties of each naked for the viewers to witness even if the motives are not always so clearly defined. This is not so much a horror film nor a thriller as much as it is a character study. Sensitivity, vulnerability and survival are all facets of each character that are explored just enough for one to understand the ultimate goal of the film. Daylight explores the delicate nature of life, love and faith while in the darkness as each character is steeped well into it on some level.
When we find Irene and Daniel struggling to survive a carjacking, we also see quite immediately how Irene’s softness plays into the sensitivities of Remmy (Michael Godere) and Leo (Ivan Martin), respectively. Although it becomes clear as the film goes on that Leo holds a fondness for her, Irene also shares moments with Remmy that eventually pits one against the other. For Remmy, Irene plays the part of the loving mother; gently navigating her way through a difficult situation while also trying to protect her unborn baby. For Leo, she serves as an extension of “Annabella,” the silent character Remmy refers to when they scrap up over both of them bonding with Irene privately. We never fully understand the relationship dynamics between Leo and Annabella but it becomes clear it’s unimportant. We only need to know that what Irene possess Annabella never had… and it’s precious to Leo.
When we see a flashback into Irene’s therapy session, wherein she admits that while she used to pray as a child, she’s not entirely religious we’re given insight into a now-praying character, holding onto a pocket-sized image of a saint and holding out hope for peace and protection. When asked what she was praying for in the session, she stated she began praying when she was unsure about her relationship with Daniel and that she prayed for something to happen.. “for everyone.” Fast-forward to the switchblade at her throat in various points in the film.
The moment the switchblade nears Irene’s belly, as a woman, my inner joints began to kick in. There is something so intrinsically precious and frightening about a woman who is that far along in her pregnancy and the determination to ensure safety for both a mother and her unborn baby. It leaves little question why Irene made the decisions she made when she thought death was approaching: What wouldn’t a person do in order to live? Even though the life she was living was imperfect, it was valuable enough to want to protect. A “woman who couldn’t do that” is exactly the type who can when faced with life-threatening odds.
As Daniel becomes the unseen minor protagonist, Irene remains in the spotlight throughout the entire film. It is through her eyes and yes, even through her heart where we can see what we are meant to see and to feel what we are meant to feel.