"Prot" is a patient at a mental hospital who claims to have arrived on Earth on "a beam of light" from the planet K-PAX. His doctor, his fellow patients, and movie audiences aren't so sure.

Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges star in this "modern fable," only this time, Bridges is the skeptical doctor, not the Starman. Spacey plays this prophetic stranger as a light-sensitive wise man prone to gobbling up Earth's fruit—strawberries, apples, bananas—peel, seeds, and all. It's a simple story. Dr. Mark Powell and his colleagues grow frustrated as Prot starts effectively ministering to the needs of his fellow patients, encouraging them with platitudes and positive thinking. They are drawn to him, clinging to his whispered wisdom. The more Powell investigates Prot's origins, the more suspicious he becomes that Prot just might be what he claims to be. But Powell's work is keeping him from attending to his frustrated family. So can you guess who else Prot plans to heal?

This is quite a departure for director Iain Softley (The Wings of the Dove). He keeps the camera close to Spacey's knowing smirk and Bridges' furrowed brow. Cinematographer John Mathieson (Gladiator) puts on a splashy light show—sunlight pours through windows, reflects off glass skyscrapers, refracts through prisms, and falls from the sky like a hard rain of honey.

A few Christian-media critics saw the light of Christ reflected in Prot's behavior.

Michael Elliott (Movie Parables) highlights Prot's "genuine interest in the people he met and the moment he was in." He calls K-PAX "an allegorical tale of deliverance and salvation."

Mary Draughon (Preview) also thinks Prot has messianic merit: "Prot seems to understand the loneliness and fears of his fellow patients and helps draw ...

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