Light from Light

Movie review by
Lynnette Nicholas, Common Sense Media
Light from Light Movie Poster Image
Beautiful drama about loss gently touches on supernatural.
  • NR
  • 2019
  • 82 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Shows the importance of having compassion, empathy, and honest communication (without judgment) when you're interacting with someone who may be going through a difficult time or grieving. Shows the power of communication, potentially behind our physical bodies. The relationship between a boy and his mom shows that teens can work peacefully with their parents, communicate honestly, and even disagree without strife.

Positive Role Models

Sheila shows great compassion toward Richard. She also gives her teenage son space to be an individual. Owen chooses to communicate his fears and vulnerability surrounding his feelings for Lucy; as a result, they form a beautiful, positive, affectionate friendship and bond. Richard shares his innermost thoughts with Sheila. Father Martin is a man of faith, but he's not so rigid as to assume anything about Richard's experience. He gently encourages Sheila to assist Richard.


Talk of a plane crash and Richard's dead wife. Scene in which a young woman has a severe allergic reaction to a wasp sting; small amount of blood when an EpiPen is thrust into her leg to help with the reaction. One of the main characters alludes to thoughts of suicide.


Two responsible teens have strong, positive affection for one another without any sexual activity.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Light from Light is a drama that gently touches on the supernatural. It takes place in a small East Tennessee town and delves into compelling themes including life after death, communication between the natural and the supernatural, loss, and love. While there are many soft, gentle moments, there's also often a tone of melancholy and regret, with moments of sadness. There's no violence, mature language, or sexual content, but one of the main characters alludes to thoughts of suicide, and there's talk of a death as the result of a plane crash. Characters also talk about the possibility of seeing a dead loved one. A character has a severe allergic reaction after being stung by a wasp. Despite tackling some heavier topics, the movie highlights the character strengths of empathy, compassion, and communication and encourages patience with others as they grieve. And it deals with paranormal and the supernatural in a diplomatic, non-spooky way. Marin Ireland and Jim Gaffigan co-star.

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What's the story?

LIGHT FROM LIGHT is a gentle drama about single mom Sheila (Marin Ireland), who has prophetic dreams and works part time as a paranormal investigator. She's asked to investigate the home of Richard (Jim Gaffigan), a widower who thinks that his house may still be "inhabited" by his late wife's ghost. With the help of her teenage son Owen (Josh Wiggins) and his close friend Lucy (Atheena Frizzell), Sheila embarks on a discovery that transcends the natural realm in search of the possibility of paranormal activity and connection. As the story unfolds, Sheila and Richard come to realize that circumstances may often not be what they seem -- but, every once in a while, things are exactly what they appear to be, whether the outcome is rational or not.

Is it any good?

Under Paul Harrill's direction, Light from Light exemplifies the idea that less is more. The beauty of this film is based in its simplicity. The silent spaces carved out within the movie speak volumes. With its scenic shots and delicate light, the cinematography is a great complement to the story, and it definitely adds to the idea of embracing life's simple, small, still moments while you can. There's a deliberate mundaneness here that accentuates the miracle of being present. That very stillness encourages viewers to prepare to embrace what the eyes may not be able to see. The way that the characters' day-to-day lives is depicted immediately makes their perspectives and experiences relatable. The universal themes of loss, death, loneliness, needing to be heard, needing to connect, and those first beautiful moments when you realize that you may be falling in love are all simply laid out, and it just works. The sweet affection between Owen and Lucy provides the perfect balance to the melancholy, introspective natures of Richard and Sheila. The way that Gaffigan inhabits the role of Richard is very interesting, immediately creating feelings of empathy. And though she's very subtle in her delivery, Ireland shows great emotional range as Sheila. Wiggins' Owen is believable and likable, and Frizzell exudes a soft, natural charm on screen.

Light from Light is likely to touch many audiences, given the way that it diplomatically depicts life and the kind of circumstances that are often out of our control while also asking questions about the nature of life and death, the idea of life after death, and science's ability to explain the supernatural. Harrill does a thorough job of taking fear and spookiness out the narrative while drawing attention to the human spirit, matters of the heart, and even a reverence for the story's paranormal and supernatural aspects. Father Martin (David Cale) makes a very poignant observation when Sheila asks him about ghosts and he replies, "Some would describe Christ when He was resurrected as a ghost." Like the priest's character, the script lends itself toward considering others' perspective without judging them -- and at seeing a life or a circumstance from a different point of view. Light from Light proves that it doesn't take much to tell a beautiful, touching story. If you aren't careful when watching this film, you may mistake its stillness for a boring storyline. But on the contrary, the silence, the stillness, and the magnification of simple daily activities is an invitation to actually be still -- so that you can catch a glimpse of what the eyes usually can't see.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the supernatural and the paranormal. What does "supernatural" mean? What does "paranormal activity" mean? In what ways do the supernatural and the paranormal shape the story of Light from Light?

  • Both Sheila and Richard are open to communicating with the ghost of Richard's wife. What role does communication play in the film? 

  • Owen and Lucy are close friends. In what ways does communication help in the growth of their friendship? In what ways do they demonstrate compassion for each another?

  • Both Richard and Sheila have doubts about the paranormal. Can you think of one defining moment in the film that changes their perspective? In what ways are they patient with each another as they grapple with the idea of the supernatural?

Movie details

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