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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Shows the personal, mental/spiritual, and physical healing power of love and forgiveness, from both giving and receiving them. Coming together as a family or a community gives you collective strength you can use to overcome situations where you've been powerless on your own. Your generosity will be returned to you.
Positive Role Models
At first Celina models self-destructive behavior, mostly from excess drinking. She disappoints friends and family and misses important occasions. But she becomes an excellent mother, daughter, friend when she starts helping others. Marvin is a former gang member who has already put his past life behind him and is trying to help others by opening a community center. He's driven, kind, supportive, and not interested in revenge for a past injustice. Cast members are positive representations of a range of races and ethnicities.
Violence & Scariness
A man slaps his teen son.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some sexual innuendo in a bar setting. A couple of brief kisses on the lips.
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"Slut," "damn," and "pissed off." A character remembers being called "queer" and "twink" in the past.
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Products & Purchases
Boost Mobile and Home Depot mentioned to establish character and location. A character drinks from a Jack Daniels bottle.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A scene in a nightclub shows adults drinking excessive shots of tequila, with drunken behavior like falling over and slurring words. An adult character drinks from a bottle of alcohol during the day. Mention of a past arrest for possession of marijuana. An adult in a bar smokes, as does an adult with lung cancer.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Be the Light is a faith-based, terminal-illness drama that shows the healing power of love, family, and forgiveness. There are some depictions of excessive alcohol use, strong language like "slut" and "damn," and a character with lung cancer who smokes cigarettes. But the story is about people who change for the better thanks to love and support from family and community. A man slaps his teenage son. The cast is diverse and provides a lot of positive role models, especially for Latinx and Black viewers. Although many characters clearly identify as Christian, the movie doesn't preach, and the themes of love, family, and forgiveness aren't presented as belonging to any one religion in particular. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This earnest, terminal-illness tearjerker is sometimes predictable and clichéd, but the engaging cast and solid storytelling help the viewer get past those problems. Be the Light is a fine choice for families who can handle the sadness from the death of a loved one and who are looking for diverse, positive representations and uplifting messages about family, love, and forgiveness.
Of course, the plot involves a plucky group of friends entering a talent contest, and unfortunately the singing, songwriting, and dancing are a bit uneven. But it's refreshingly free of preachiness for a movie with strong religious themes. It also encourages viewers to see people for who they are and what they do now, not to judge them for what they used to do. Some iffy behavior, rare strong language, and nuanced situations make it best for teens and up.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.