I went to see the newest movie by Hollywood power houses Roma Downey (Touch by An Angel) and her husband Mark Burnett (Braveheart, Survivor, The Voice, and more). This dynamic duo gave us the great TV series “The Bible” so I was excited to see what they would do with our Savior’s life.
As we talked with friends afterward someone made a joke that was actually profound given the circumstances, “It’s hard to like a movie after you’ve read the book. The book is always better.” Well in this case, the book is everlasting word of the living God, so it’s hard to compete. After a brief chuckle, I shared my thoughts about how to view a biblically based movie.
Before going to the Son of God, I thought, “As a person who has given the majority of his adult life to studying, even memorizing the Bible, it would be easy for me to pick part the errors.” Yes, I could wow my friends with the inconsistencies I would catch as I rattle them off like a ‘theological blooper reel’ played after the credits. That would be one way to view the film with a “critics eye” but is that what God would want me to do?
Another option would be to approach the movie to see if it’s a quality film by Hollywood standards. For too many years Christians have settled for substandard writing, stiff acting and cheesy scenery by hiding under the banner of “at least the truth is being preached.” I thought, “If I see one more feminine acting ‘Jesus’ who stares off into space like an 1970’s stoner I’ll scream!” After some slow breaths it occurred to me that they have Hollywood Critics and Christian Journalists who already break down the film in these areas. If you want my opinion, it was very well done and Diogo Morgado is excellent as the Son of God Himself.
No I didn’t go to scrutinize the Biblical inaccuracies nor to see the cinematic quality of the film. Instead I decided that the best way for me so look at this film was to ask the question, “How does it represent Jesus, the Son of God?” In answer to that question, the film did an excellent job!
Jesus was portrayed as joyful and caring when with the people, frustrated and confrontational with Jewish Leaders the Pharisees. He acted on his disgust when finding money changers cheating people inside the Temple as he overturned their tables. The film gave us an excellent glimpse into the anguish in the garden as Jesus prayed but correctly included his commitment to the Father’s will in that moment. While I felt the Passion of the Christ gave us a far more powerful portrayal of the scourging and crucifixion of Christ, The Son of God certainly showed us that Christ suffered and died a brutal death. I do believe some of the gore was intentionally avoided to gain the PG-13 audience. I love that this film gave us some time with the risen savior, even if it was brief.
In summary, my opinion is this. Go to this movie with the question on your mind, “How is the Son of God portrayed?” If you’ll do that, you will leave with a thankful heart that there is another major Hollywood film that gives the world a favorable snap shot of the Son of God who loved them.