In a world where everyone is constantly counting their social media followers, sometimes it takes just a simple reminder to reassert one’s core values. Sometimes, it takes a movie featuring a larger than life celebrity, who despite his naysayers, has the uncanny ability to make even the most hateful hater, think twice. Movies have a magical quality, they move people and “Son of God” moved me opening weekend for that very reason.
If you are like me, you may be hesitant about two types of films: religious and slavery-themed. (1. the ending is already known. 2. depiction and departure debates drag on and on and on by self-righteous ones, every time a trailer is viewed), but I pushed those feelings aside. I knew a bit about the highly watched, yet highly controversial, History Channel’s series, “The Bible”, the origin of the film, however, I went in open-minded, certain there was a reason to not only watch “Son of God”, but review.
All the while, I couldn’t help but wonder how in Hollywood , if anyone had a cross to bear, I could imagine it being the actor who was to carry out such a heavy and painstaking role. An emotionally intense and ambiguous portrayal of Jesus seemed to be possibly the most challenging role to ever be played. I didn’t envy that person, nor the casting directors who set out to find, not only someone with acting chops, but someone with conviction. It would probably take a miracle. But lead, Diogo Morgado, gave a very magically charismatic, impressively sincere performance. Although the actor's portrayal has caused a stir with some moviegoers because of his supermodel looks, his acting was soooo on point, I believe a lot of people will stay more focused on the storyline.
Of course films about Christ can be scrutinized because who can really cover the bible and please everyone. In spite of this reality, there were many fine points and high-quality choices with this particular rendition.
The film, racing through a timeline of events, covered the rise of Christ, in a media-take-out kind of way, and how his popularity seemed to soar so easily. The fall hits quickly, and soon viewers are stuck between a rock and a hard place, uncomfortably witnessing the torture for quite the duration. While the breath-taking music plays, the resurrection comes like a breath of fresh air.
I have to admit, it is intriguing to watch bible stories in a realistic, man-made view and no matter if you are fresh or seasoned in the religious game, a conversation can definitely be had about a story as old as time, but one just as relevant today as it was “B.C”. And what an interesting tool this film can be for Sunday School teachers, parents and even book club members.
Overall, the powerful message that I got from the film was forgiveness breads second chances, and we ALL need them. This humble, prevalent and universal theme allows the film to not just be…an action/drama that entertains, but it can very well serve as a springboard for rededication for followers who have felt lost as well as an invitation to new followers who feel found.
Trash gets viewed on a regular basis, who can be mad at any vehicle that brings spiritual themes into the forefront, themes that can make one’s life a bit more meaningful? Spread the word...
Micole Williams is a teacher, author and filmmaker from Houston, Texas. On Twitter, follow her @willmpower and follow her book/film/web series @the TWOTLTseries.