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How ‘Let There Be Light’ Shames Studio Dramas

Faith-based films may have noble intentions, but they can be stiff in places where it matters most.

A clunky laugh line here. An ill-advised supporting turn there.

Not “Let There Be Light.” Director/star Kevin Sorbo’s film features a Christian redemption much like its predecessors.

So what’s different? This is a family affair. The actor’s wife, Sam Sorbo, co-wrote the script and stars as her husband’s on-screen wife. Their sons play the couple’s kids.

Together, they do more than suggest a real family in crisis. They bring a warmth to the narrative that’s both loose-limbed and true.

Kevin Sorbo stars as Dr. Sol Harkens, a loud and proud atheist making a killing by crushing Christ. He bulldozes a man of faith in a critical early scene, using a personal tragedy to deliver the KO. Sol’s son died of cancer years earlier. What kind of a God does that to a perfect little boy, he asks.

Atheism pays the rent, but it also drives a wedge between Sol and his ex wife Katy (Sam Sorbo) and their teen sons (Shane and Braeden Sorbo).

He doesn’t care. The money is good and booze helps ease the pain of his loss. It also nearly kills him.

RELATED: ‘New Life’ Star: Why Faith-Based Films Still Shock Hollywood

He leaves a book party after downing too many drinks and drives his car off the side of the road. He’s declared clinically dead for four minutes, just long enough for him to have a vision of his departed son telling him something urgent.

When Sol recovers, he’s not sure he can resume his God-bashing ways. Didn’t he just get a glimpse of the Afterlife?

It’s noble for any film today to name check ISIS and the atrocities they commit. “Light” opens with a series of news clips detailing major terror attacks from the last few years. Yet the connection between Sol’s crisis and radical Islam isn’t fully integrated into the tale. The story here is so personal, so intimate, it’s hard to plug it into that global menace.

And one cameo, while handled delicately, unnecessarily interrupts a critical moment in the film.

Yet for every hiccup “Light” comes back with a bold, beating heartbeat. Blame Sam Sorbo. She’s outstanding as Katy, a woman refusing to give up on her family. If “Light” had came from the studio system her role might have been negligible.

She would be The Wife, standing by her man in the most generic way possible.

Not here.

Katy is the film’s anchor, and Sam Sorbo delivers a truthful turn that matures as the third act unfolds.

Fox News’ Sean Hannity, a producer on the film, appears as himself late in the movie. His presence might drive secular audiences crazy, but he captures the film’s inspirational message.

let-there-be-light-sam-sorbo
Sam Sorbo, second from left, co-wrote the screenplay for ‘Let There Be Light.’

Screenwriters Dan Gordon and Sam Sorbo keep finding tiny moments that make the narrative pop. Some of their choices sound awful on paper, like making the Harken’s pastor a former wiseguy. Michael Franzese’s quiet intensity as Pastor Vinny flips the script all the same.

The fim’s delayed courtship is another triumph. Sweet and satisfying, the subplot shames Hollywood which all but gave up on making meaningful rom-coms.

Best of all? The movie is fully aware of how children matter when it comes to middle-age romance. The Sorbo teens deliver some well-earned laughs as the couple’s “chaperones” without succumbing to cutesy kid banter.

RELATED: Angelina Jolie Shows How to Promote Faith-Based Films

Yes, “Light” is unabashed in its purpose and that third act features a twist that feels like too much initially. Yet the story rolls on, with a delicacy that speaks well of Sorbo’s directorial chops. And Sam Sorbo shares a tiny sermon on a parent’s eternal love that might be the year’s most Kleenex clutching moment.

HiT or Miss: Screen veteran Kevin Sorbo makes an impressive directorial debut with “Let There Be Light,” but he had more than a little help from his family.

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18 Comments

  1. I have to be honest, here: Reading that Sorbo plays a “loud and proud” atheist with a doctorate resulted in my getting bad flashbacks of “God’s Not Dead”. I REALLY hope that’s where the comparison to this movie ends.

  2. The idea that atheists are lost souls who need to be saved is repugnant. However, just to annoy the idiots who made this film, if I did choose to believe in a god it would probably be Buddha.

    1. FYI… Buddha is not nor ever claimed to be God which Jesus did on multiple occaisions. There is no surprise that an athiest would be portrayed as a lost soul because Jesus proclaimed, (again on multiple occaisions) that to gain entry into heaven, a person must be born again, (thus the coining of that phrase as aplicable to Christians, John 3). He also made it clear that He and He alone was the “door” to gain access when He proclaimed in John 14 that ” I am the way, e truth, and the life, no one goes to God except through Him”. I recognize that is as bold a statement as there is, but was said to challenge everyone. We all have to deal with that whenever we consider what happens to us after our physical body dies. Someone who rejects heaven, God the Father or His one and only Son as atheists do, will get their way upon their own death by never having to have God’s love upon their lives. They, therefore will go to a place where there is none of God, which in English is called hell. It will be the choice of every single human being who believes in some kind of afterlife where they want to spend their personal eternity. In other words people who hate the God of the Bible because they are faced with making that choice have no argument about a hateful God who sends people to hell, when the reality of it all is people chose that for themselves. Also, you should know that according to the Bible, every born again Christian first came from that position of disbelief including myself, but changed when by some circumstance they encountered in their lives, reached out from their heart in hope that God was real and would hear them. He is and He does, and from my heart, I hope that the day will come for you too. If you are genuinely interested in hearing more, answer this. If you only want to make insults and mock what I have tried to say to you respectfully, don’t bother because my interests only to help those who are sincere in their desire to understand and argument for the sake of argument is a waste of my time.

      1. Thanks for the info. Are you going to claim that the producer, Sean Hannity, liar and misogynist, is anything other than a lost soul?

        1. you’ll have to ask Sean’s wife about any misogyny. It would alter your opinion. I haven’t met Sean. We do have mutual friends however and I hear only rich and real stories about how genuine, generous and authentic he is.

          1. I don’t know Hannity personally. I can only assess his character based on his public persona as a Fox Talk Show host, and his persona there is definitively a liar and a misogynist. Maybe when not in public he is a decent person, but I doubt it. Perhaps you noticed his response to an advertiser pulling their support for his show. He didn’t ask his viewers to not buy their products anymore. No, he encouraged his viewers to destroy their products and send him videos of them doing it. Then when more advertisers abandoned his show, he was all oops, maybe that was a bad idea. Instead of taking responsibility, he just tried to shift blame for his bad behavior onto others. That is classic Hannity. That you are willing to overlook these blatant and unapologetic character flaws tells me all i need to know about you.

          2. all you need to know about me … hhhm, ok, i’ll try to grow and be more like you [who’s livid at people you haven’t met.] CB, you gotta grow some day. You are obsessing over this. I don’t even own a TV so you can make all the judgments you want about all the things I feel {about the shows I am no watching!} Come on man

          3. Thank you for confirming my initial assessment of your character. You didn’t need to do that, but thanks anyway.

          4. can’t help you Christopher. Your cynicism is tiresome. You think it’s a sign of intelligence but, uh, well, you take care buddy.

    2. Buddha S. Gautama emphatically claimed that he didn’t know what the answer to life was (in 500 B.C.), and that he hoped God would send the answer down to us. So if you are going to follow Buddha, don’t try to tell yourself it’s an intelligent decision. Buddha himself would have rolled his eyes over you following him.

      1. Thanks for the info, not that it has any relevance to my beliefs. Are you going to claim that the producer, Sean Hannity, liar and misogynist, is anything other than a lost soul? Also, China is Buddhist to at least the same extent that the US is Christian, so I guess Buddha is probably doing as much eye rolling as Jesus.

          1. There are Christians and there are those who merely pretend to be Christian. Based on the circumstances in the US, it seems that the latter is far more common than the former. I would expect the same to be true in China.

          2. sounds like you wish everyone would truly live their faith in Christ to the full and don’t be ‘hollow’ about it. ‘Like you do? Check the “Christians in China” videos on YouTube. You will be impressed. Their dedication is stunning

    3. it’s rare to meet an atheist who doesn’t drink excessively. They do have an emptiness about them. I get amused when atheists’ children ask them if God knows that they don’t believe in Him. Atheists are generally angry that they can’t control God so they pretend He isn’t there. It’s kind of a foolish creed to be atheist – though understandable that the disappointments of life brought them to their despondent non beliefs.

  3. Let There Be Light is rich, well thought through and credible literature. It does an effective job of telling a vital story

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