Review

'Pass the Light' could use a less-shiny lead character

The faith-based, well-made 'Pass the Light' might reach more teens if its lead character was more believable

A saintly high school senior finds himself running against an intolerance-peddling congressional candidate in "Pass the Light," a faith-based inspirational drama that plays like an after-Sunday-school special.

One would think Northfield Christian Academy senior Steve Bellafiore (Cameron Palatas) had enough on his plate.

If the churchgoing, blemish-free teen isn't playing on the football team or getting up at the crack of dawn Saturday mornings to serve breakfast at the local shelter, he's committed to restoring the sullied reputation of the school hottie (Alexandria DeBerry).

But when a fire-and-brimstone spewing politician (Jon Gries) builds his congressional bid on a platform involving the "casting out" of whom he sees as the sexually immoral — homosexuals and abortion-seekers among them — Steve counters by mounting his own Pass the Light campaign of all-embracing positivity.

Directed by Malcolm J. Goodwin with a heavy hand and an outstretched running time, the film admittedly boasts decent production values and across-the-board dedicated performances.

Screenwriter Victor Hawks' inclusive, all-God's-children message is above reproach, but his lead character is ultimately too good for the movie's own good.

Giving him a personal demon or character flaw of his own would have made him a more relatable role model for the teen audience to whom the filmmakers are clearly preaching.

"Pass the Light."

No MPAA rating.

Running time: 1 hour, 53 minutes.

Playing: Muvico Thousand Oaks 14.

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