The Young Messiah (Movie Review)

I’m British!

Plot Summary

According to some fake historical accounts written down in pseudepigraphical infancy gospels, while the British boy Jesus lived in British Egypt, he supposedly had no idea that He was God in the flesh as His family ‘concealed’ His true identity from Him.  Stalked by Satan, British Jesus accidentally raised people from the dead and healed them.  But when British Herod sent a British Centurion to kill the little British Messiah, young British Jesus must discover who He is before it’s too late.

 

Production Quality (2 points)

Despite its glaring flaws, The Young Messiah does have good production merits, which is becoming the new baseline of Christian film.  Camera work and video quality are obviously professional, except for a few strange moments of weird camera angles.  The audio quality is fine but the soundtrack leaves something to be desired.  The sets and locations are mostly realistic.  However, there are some editing issues pertaining to useless scenes and generally confusing plot development.  Overall, this is a respectable effort and lends to the new normal of Christian film, which is quality productions.  However, it gets worse from here.

Plot and Storyline Quality (-1 points)

I don’t care what your theology is—if you believe that Jesus was fully God and fully man from birth, then there’s no way you can believe that the young Jesus had zero clue what He was supposed to do on earth or that Mary could conceal anything from Him.  What is the actual point of constructing an entire plot around keeping a ‘secret’ from God Himself?  Even without this issue, this plot is meandering, useless, and without focus as it jumps from one sensational scene to the next.  With tons of extra-Biblical, questionable, and even borderline explicit content, The Young Messiah has an overall dark feel to it and an unhealthy addiction to sadistic violence.  Bizarre spiritual elements are also present as this film has a typical obsession with Satan, who is mostly portrayed as smarter than Jesus.  Perhaps the entire motivation for making this mess should be reexamined.  With no truly redemptive qualities to speak of and an offensive portrayal of Christ, this plot warrants negative points.

Acting Quality (-1 points)

Obviously the standard for slapping together a Bible film is to put out a casting call for people who sound like they stepped out of a Charles Dickens novel.  There’s nothing wrong with cockney British accents, mind you, as long as they are kept in their proper place, like Jane Austen movies and such.  But why, can anyone tell me, do movie creators feel the need to endlessly cast Roman and Middle Eastern figures as WHITE BRITISH PEOPLE?!  It effects everything—not just the accents—but even the out-of-place culture-specific references like ‘hubbub’.  Besides this, costuming and makeup is generally weird and line delivery is overly dramatic.  Any good hidden here is totally overshadowed by all things BRITISH.

Conclusion

If you’re going to make a Biblical movie, first why do you feel the need to cast an entirely and extremely BRITISH cast?  Second, why not portray a clearly written story from Scripture rather than some made up garbage from a false historical source (see pseudepigrapha and Infancy Gospels)?  It’s not like we’re running out of Bible stories to choose from for movies.  And we’re certainly not at an international shortage for Middle Eastern cast members as some have shown.  Even if you’re not going to cast totally Middle Eastern people, can’t you at least have them learn different accents?  Some actors conceal their accents for some roles because that’s their job.  Can’t we respect the Bible enough, at least as a historical document, and attempt some authenticity?  Finally, if you don’t care to portray Jesus and Satan properly, don’t make a movie about them, KTHXBYE.

 

Final Rating: 1 out of 10 points

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3 thoughts on “The Young Messiah (Movie Review)

  1. Using the standards for a serious film about the Christ as stated above one would then dismiss THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD, KING OF KINGS, THE ROBE, BEN-HUR and about every other Biblical themed film that has ever been made because the actors don’t have the correct accents or the story isn’t strictly from the scriptures. I found THE YOUNG MESSIAH to be thought provoking and very moving as well as beautifully acted. After seeing the film in the theatre I purchased the Blu-ray but did not watch until this first day of the new year 2019. Re-seeing the film confirmed my original feelings toward the film. I for one find the THE YOUNG MESSIAH to be an exceptional film that I would not hesitate to recommend.

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    • Thanks for sharing your opinion! Yes, you are correct that those movies mentioned don’t use fully correct cultural casting either. While we accept that it’s very hard to correctly cast every cast member in a historical cultural film (like every Biblical film should be treated), films like The Young Messiah that so blatantly disregard cultural authenticity and flagrantly cast every character as British is very offensive. The movie maker needs to make an effort to be authentic and culturally sensitive in the casting of a film like this because to do otherwise is to treat the Bible as non-historical; what would you think about a Civil War movie that cast Hispanic people as the slaves?
      As a side note, there are films that correctly cast the characters, such as this one: https://boxofficerevolution.wordpress.com/2016/12/23/nativity-story-2006-movie-review/

      Have a great day!

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  2. If a filmmaker made a movie about Asian or African characters and cast them as white actors with thick British accents there would be an outcry and rightfully so. Focus Features, this film’s distributor, should have refused to endorse this racist, whitewashed portrayal of Middle Eastern people.

    Besides these racial undertones, the complete abandonment of authenticity proves that the writers and director have no self respect as filmmakers. If they had truly taken this project seriously they would have made a real effort to at least seem somewhat realistic. There is no reason why a director should be afraid to direct the actors to use a more appropriate accent and vocabulary in order to seem more like the character they are meant to portray. They are ACTORS after all.

    Everyone associated with this mess should be ashamed of themselves.

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