I mentioned this film last week and I said, explicitly, DON’T be afraid to see this movie! Of course, you would imagine that I would take my own advice. I was excited to see this movie not only because I enjoyed Anne Rice’s novels but I believe an “exploration” into the self-awareness of Jesus is a worthy topic. Truthfully, I was not disappointed. The film was reverent, solemn, and respectful. Yes, Jesus was a white kid…in fact, Jesus’ whole family and most of the characters were NOT middle eastern. Truthfully, I wish the filmmakers would have done something about that…it would have made the film that much better. Besides that glaring reality, the film was excellent. It stayed true to the novel and did NOT succumb to “cheap film effects” to bring about the early miracles of Jesus. There were no dramatic winds, or bright lights, or other film effects that usually bring a fair amount of “cheesiness” to this genre. Jesus’ young life is explored in the context of a strong and loving family unit. That cultural issues of family, hierarchy, religious training and adherence, travel, Roman presence, kingly madness, etc. were all accurately portrayed. As a result, the film has a real “first century” feel to it. Jesus was likable. He was kind, gentle, sensitive, obviously God-honoring and a lover of his family. He was also portrayed as a child…sometimes mischievous and ever curious. Again, something I think is true to the text of the New Testament in terms of the reality of the human experience of Messiah. I loved Jesus-Mary relationship as well as the family dynamics as presented in the film. Yes friends, you will not find these stories in the bible. That’s why it is important to know that this movie IS a “fiction story.” We do have ancient texts that tell these stories but they were not included in the canon. For me there is an easy explanation (besides the fact that many of these texts were deemed to be based in Gnostic teachings), Jesus was a normal child in a normal family. There wasn’t anything SO extraordinary about him that people would purposely want to recall his childhood experiences. Luke 2:52 says it well, “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, in favor with God and people.” Simple and to the point. The temple scene in the movie has a bit of a “12 year old Jesus in the temple” vibe to it (which, I think, was a fair scene to include) and there are a few “flashbacks” to the stories that are told in the gospels, but all in all, the movie stands on its own as it attempts to share a perspective on young Jesus’ life. All in all, as I said, I liked the movie and encourage you to see it! Really…it will get you thinking.