The Young Messiah
Rating: 3.5 / 5
When we talk about the story of Jesus, we tend to leap straight from his birth to his ministry 30 years later, and his childhood is often up for speculation. Enter The Young Messiah.
Based on a novel by Anne Rice, directed by Cyrus Nowrasteh and produced by Hollywood heavyweights Chris Columbus and Mark Radcliffe, we see the seven-year-old messiah, as he travels from Egypt to his home town of Nazareth.
Working on the premise that Jesus didn’t know his real identity as a child, the film unwraps his discovery as he navigates his early years filled with persecution, miracles and a deep reverence for the God of the Jewish faith.
Newcomer Adam Greaves-Neal is delightful as the wide-eyed messiah. If you push past his British accent (sadly a mainstay in most biblical films), he captures the inquisitiveness and purity of the Christ-child perfectly, and holds his own against formidable characters like the centurion Severus (Sean Bean), who is hunting down the mysterious child who escaped death in Bethlehem eight years ago.
This doesn’t have the emotional depth or grit of films like The Passion of the Christor The Nativity Story, but it is a reverent and beautiful approach that references scriptures closely—unlike the recent epics Noah or Exodus: Gods and Kings.
Shot in Italy, the setting puts you in the worn sandals of Christ’s family, and you navigate the tragedy and trauma of Roman rule with them. Background knowledge of the story of Christ is needed to understand the fullness of this narrative, but it makes for compelling conjecture.