Let There Be Light is a gratuitous entry into the popular faith-based sub-genre, but it acknowledges some interesting albeit heavy-handed ideas about being open to change.
Directed by Kevin Sorbo of Hercules fame, Let There Be Light is a story of a non-believer making an unexpected transition to Christianity. Sorbo plays Dr. Sol Harkens, a best-selling author whose atheism has spawned an incredible career, and infamous nickname, and distain towards his family. The filmmaker/star is obviously very passionate about his own faith, which gives Sorbo an interesting angle to play the doctor’s cynicism. As Sol Harkens, Sorbo taps into a calm defence that gives him leverage over his excitable debaters. He utters every sentence with justification and he always seems one step ahead. Since Harkens is fuelled in egotistical ways, he hits personal lows when he’s by himself. He’s constantly reminded of how lonely he really is. He might not believe in spiritual company, but he could use a friend.
A fatal car accident, however, turns Sol’s life around. For a brief moment, he shares time with his deceased son in a tunnel of memories. Despite being persuaded to follow his son towards the light, Sol is given a second chance on Earth. Not necessarily to speak the good word, but that’s a natural decision he makes himself. The rest of Let There Be Light is an ongoing epiphany as Sol exiles hate and learns to open up his heart more. It’s sappy and schmaltzy, but Sorbo is sweet and his evangelical conversations with other people are blunt enough to give the film some rare edge.
However, Let There Be Light can’t be saved from its manipulative tendencies. From the phoney book covers Sorbo has covered Sol’s lavish apartment with, to a glossy montage covering a devastating sickness, to the mentions of ISIS for triggering purposes, to a self-serving Deus ex Machina in the form of FOX’s Sean Hannity, Let There Be Light pulls some cheap punches to wring emotions out of movie goers.
Kevin Sorbo shows potential as a filmmaker who can direct himself, and he seems to be in his element during introspective scenes at home. I’ll be praying that his follow-up feature is a straightforward family drama.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie