Parents' Guide to

God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Issue of church vs. state in faith-based "threequel."

Movie PG 2018 105 minutes
God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 8 parent reviews

age 8+

Really good

I've seen a lot of sappy Christian movies, especially of the romantic kind. These are often predictable and charming. But they also end up being repetitive and not very deep. To preface, I've never seen God's Not Dead 1 or 2. My family went into this one blind, or at least, I did. I had seen review scores and they weren't pretty. I was doubtful that it would be good. I was pleasantly surprised. The movie was never overbearing or too preachy in its Christianity. It did not condemn any character at all or "set someone up" to be the fall guy when stuff went down. In fact, the major overarching theme was strongly and firmly against this. It was fantastic. I was engrossed from beginning to end. It was deeply religious without being "preachy" or condemnational, and that's something so many movies could do to have these days. It was a balanced movie.

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age 9+

This title has:

Great messages

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (8):
Kids say (2):

Faith-based films continue to improve on the technical front thanks to professional actors and high production values. But it's still hard to imagine anyone who's not an evangelical Christian wanting to see them. This third installment in the God's Not Dead series, while slightly less silly in its setup than the previous two, still feeds the opinion, within certain circles, that colleges obsessed with tolerance start being "intolerant" when it comes to Christianity (or at least the narrowly defined fundamentalist/evangelical version of Christianity, as portrayed in the movie). Star White, who also produces the movies, does a fine job playing fed-up Pastor Dave, who's ready to fight/stand up for his church's right to be on the state university. Corbett, a regular on the faith-based circuit, is also good as the secular brother who felt hurt by his family's Christian judgment long ago.

Some audiences may notice that the only minority characters either die, are used as wise council (fellow pastors), or represent the non-believer threat of protest culture (i.e., a young black man who's constantly on his phone using social media to call for fellow students to protest). None of the people of color in the movie are fully fledged characters the audience gets to know -- just supporting players with few lines in an otherwise all-white ensemble. That feels uncomfortable, particularly since most public universities would likely have much more diversity. Props to the filmmakers for at least having the black pastor call out Pastor Dave (who's complaining about feeling persecuted) by saying something to the effect of "Brother, I'm a black preacher in the Deep South -- how many bricks do you think have been hurled at me?" And then Pastor Dave apologizes. There's also dialogue in which Pastor Dave acknowledges the violence and persecution caused by Christians in the past, although it's quickly dismissed as not as important as what's happening now against Christians. Moviegoers who already agree with the filmmakers' premise will enjoy this drama, but anyone who doesn't believe that Christians are being persecuted in the United States is likely to find the plot condescending -- particularly because Christian persecution is very real in other countries.

Movie Details

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