Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Young Messiah features a very sweet little Jesus

Movie Title:    The Young Messiah       

Grade:   PG-13, 1 hour 51 minutes

Rating:   B+

In a Nutshell:    “Inspired by scripture, rooted in history”, this is a very respectful telling of what MIGHT have occurred in Jesus Christ’s childhood. 

Based on Anne Rice’s book Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt: A Novel , this is a lovely family-friendly movie for the Easter season.

Uplifting theme: 
  • Jesus Christ is the Messiah.
  • We all grow from grace to grace in our understanding of God’s plan for us.

Things I liked:
  • I love watching Sean Bean in anything.
  • Adam Greaves-Neal does a nice job as the young Jesus.  What a sweet little face.
  • Italian actress Sara Lazzaro plays a loving, protective Mary.  Vincent Walsh plays a humble, self-sacrificing Joseph.  There are several sweet scenes where Joseph buoys up Mary during her moments of fear and doubt.  He tells her, “I thank God for choosing me every day.  Every day.”
  • The cast, for the most part, looks believably Middle-Eastern.
  • Rory Keenan is a perfectly creepy Satan, who is constantly lurking around and whispering evil ideas in everyone’s ears.  Reminiscent of the “fall” of Adam and Eve, he eats an apple in the opening scene and is represented as a snake in several other scenes+.
  • I’m glad that the sets don’t look like cheesy Hollywood sets.  The fabrics are rough and the tiles are worn and dingy.  Everything looks very believable.
  • I thought it was interesting to show that Jesus was the only one who could see Lucifer.  After a conversation with Satan, Jesus exclaimed “You don’t know the answers, do you?  You don’t know what’s going to happen!”
  • I appreciated the parental struggles of Mary and Joseph as they decided when and what to tell Jesus and how to answer his questions.  Joseph explains to Jesus “Your questions are the questions of a child and your answers are for a man.”

Things I didn’t like:
  • We already know how the story “ends”, so the film lacks a certain amount of tension, mystery, and anticipation.
  • The target audience is most definitely Christian with very little attempt to convince the non-believer.
  • There are many events that are not in the scriptures or are scripturally inaccurate, but the viewer should know that will be the case going into it.
  • There is kind of an odd scene where Cleopas and Jesus go down in the water at the river Jordan.  I assume it was supposed to be a forshadowing of Jesus’ baptism there later?
  • Everyone looked authentic, except one actress with fake boobs who looked out of place in the movie.

Interesting lines:
  • “There’s only one miracle – it’s Roman steel.” – Severus (Sean Bean)
  • “How do we explain God to His own son?” – Joseph
  • “He’s just a child.” – Joseph
“No.  I was just a child and so were you, but he is not just a child.” – Cleopas (Christian McKay)
  • “Chaos rules and I am its prince.” – Lucifer
  • “Is that it?  Is that all you can do?” – Lucifer to Jesus as he was praying
Tips for parents:   

  • There is a disturbing scene where Jesus and his family are traveling to Jerusalem and have to walk through a road lined with men who are currently being crucified.  That road was famous at the time and really did exist.
  • A man begins to sexually assault a woman and she murders him while Jesus watches.  In fact, he sees a lot of disturbing things that might frighten young children.
  • Children may not be familiar with the “blood of innocents” that Herod caused in search of the young Christ child at his birth.  The movie shows images of that event and revolves around Herod’s son’s attempt to find Jesus and kill him.
  • No profanity.
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