I knew I was in trouble in the new religiously-themed movie Let There Be Light when Sean Hannity got third billing as an actor and as a producer. First billed as actor, director, and producer was Kevin (Hercules) Sorbo who has taken to showing up in faith-based films recently. Was this a hateful movie clothed as a good, moral Christian tale? A little, though not as much as I thought it would be (unless your Muslim in which case the only regard you get is about a dozen mentions of ISIS).
Sorbo plays a conceited, selfish prick of an atheist who has written a book called Aborting God so you know we’re in for even-handed characterization. He’s a drunk divorced father of two who is largely on an anti-god tour because it pays the alimony. His character is named Solomon or Sol… because that doesn’t sound anything like the disbeliever Saul because subtly is not this movie’s strong suit.
Sorbo gets into a car crash one drunken night and has a vision of his dead son who tells him “Let there be light”. This sets him on conversion course to belief and the film tracks the destruction of his writing career, the rebuilding of his relationship with his wife and family, and his new mission to promote a phone app that will light up the night sky on Christmas Eve.
Sorbo does a pretty good job… I’d never accuse him of being a great actor but he’s much better than the material here and he manages to save the movie from being garbage. The drunken, anger-filled version of his character is believable as is his struggle with belief. He’s less interesting after his conversion but that’s just because they flip his switch to boring milquetoast. Not sure how compelling anyone would be at that point in the film.
The best part of this movie BY FAR is a goomba preacher. I have never been more amused by this weird bit of writing and casting. A total mafia stereotype, he’s tells Sorbo he used to be a wiseguy. He literally has the line, “Jesus gets whacked, right?” and then “Bada-boom, his body is gone three days later.” Badda-boom, badda-bing, amiright? The preacher knows about those Romans, since they were Italians. It was gloriously goofy and almost worth seeing the movie for. I just don’t know how intentional it was.
I’ve seen worse faith-based movies. I’ve seen more hateful and self-righteous and smug faith-based movies. This one creates a straw man out of his main character so it can show it’s already bought-in Christian audience how easy it is to convert someone. It’s a little distasteful, preaching to the choir like this. Sorbo does a good enough job to save the movie with his acting and some of the random attempts at bad humor help too (usually not because they are funny but because the movie thinks they are funny). Oh, like that scenes where Sorbo is having a serious-minded conversation with his ex-wife in front of a Hercules poster. Har. Har.