Pass the Light

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Pass the Light Movie Poster Image
Faith-based film has worthwhile message about tolerance.
  • NR
  • 2015
  • 109 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

It's important to be tolerant of others and do the right thing -- which isn't always the easy thing. Being kind and caring to others always pays off.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Steve puts his beliefs on the line; he's initially ridiculed, but he eventually wins people over and is able to have a significant impact on his community, his school, and his family.

Violence

Family members fight, but they also make up afterward.

Sex

Some hugs and kisses. A high school student talks about having sex. There's a pregnancy scare.

Language

One character repeatedly makes insulting homophobic comments.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Pass the Light is a family-oriented film with a strong faith-based message that juxtaposes a homophobic interpretation of the Bible with a more tolerant perspective. There's no swearing, physical violence, or drinking; family members do argue, and there are a few brief hugs and chaste kisses, as well as some talk about having sex and a pregnancy scare. And one character repeatedly makes insulting comments. But much of the film features people trying to be as nice as possible to each other, even in the face of hostility and derision, and overall the movie offers a positive message for tweens and teens.

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What's the story?

Steve (Cameron Palatas) is a high school senior who decides to run for Congress, mainly so he can campaign against veteran local politician Franklin Baumann (Jon Gries), whose entire campaign is based on a conservative, literal interpretation of the Bible -- including denouncing homosexuals. Steve's efforts spur a grassroots movement in his school, known as the PASS THE LIGHT program, that's all about encouraging people to be kind and loving: a stark contrast to his opponent's message. While Steve knows he's legally too young to hold office, that doesn't stop him from hoping for some kind of miracle on election day.

Is it any good?

Pass the Light has an important message: By juxtaposing two different faith-based perspectives, it shows that hate isn't really a Christian virtue. The film itself is competent; the young actors have good chemistry, and you really get a sense for the dread that can befall the average high school student. One small moment of kindness can make a big difference for most kids. That said, the story is close to ridiculous, and the plot complications are easy to spot. The film has the feel of a well-done TV movie of the week, but it's no ground-breaker.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the different ways that faith is portrayed in Pass the Light. Is one way intended to be "right" and the other "wrong"? How can you tell? Which do you find more compelling, and why?

  • What are some other ways that Steve might have gotten his message across? How can individual people -- even kids -- make a difference?

  • Do you have to be religious to enjoy faith-based films like Pass the Light? Why, or why not?

Movie details

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