I am very surprised that this movie is already out since I do not see it around. I only find that it is showing at Cathay and it seems that there is no more screening after this Wednesday. I decided to watch it today and only 5 people were in the cinema. Lol. I was worried that I might be the only one and they would cancel the screening.
The Young Messiah tells the story of the Holy Family's return from Egypt back to Nazareth after the death of King Herod who wanted to kill baby Jesus. Things do not really change as Herod's son hear about child Jesus' miracles and tasks his centurion to capture Jesus. In the Bible, there is only one story on Jesus' childhood which is when he was missing at the temple. It is quite a gamble to create a movie about Jesus when there is no mention about it in the Bible and the odd likely favours disappointment.
Let's not discuss the story as anything related to the Bible is definitely boring. Lol. Either it is boring because we are already familiar with the story or it is boring when it tells something completely out of the Bible. Let's talk about how it makes me feel about the movie. I think the movie is great as the story is quite believe-able. The 7 year-old Jesus is not aware of His being the Son of God and hence is confused with what he can do. We also get to see Jesus' cousin, James. We know that James is a holy person who became Bishop of Jerusalem eventually. Despite this, his depiction as a kid here is also believe-able. He is irritated, and perhaps somewhat jealous, with Jesus. But still, they will talk and play with each other. Boys will always be boys.
With young Jesus not realising his God-hood yet, I feel that the focus on the story is on Joseph and Mary. It is mostly about their struggle of raising up Jesus: they trust in God but sometimes things are getting too tough that they are worried that they are not strong enough to carry out what God wants them to do, challenges from people around them who may not fully believe in what happen to them so far or suspicious with Jesus' miracles, not able to answer Jesus' questions yet as he may still be too young to understand things which adults cannot even comprehend. In fact, the movie can be summarised as what Joseph says "How do we explain God to His own Son?".
Put me in their shoes and I think I can empathise what they were going through. It gives me a new perspective to the story of finding of Jesus in the temple. Joseph and Mary's worry may not simply like how parents feel when they lose their child in shopping mall but they are worried about Jesus' safety. Most importantly, it gives me a new perspective on the kind of faith that Joseph and Mary have. We may think that it must be cool to have the honour of taking care of God's only son etc but from what this movie is telling, it is something full of challenges, trials, and tribulations.
Despite showing Joseph and Mary's human struggles, the movie does not show them succumb to human's emotion. Mary never doubts, never complains, and never gets angry to God. What she feels is if she will be strong enough to carry out God's mission for her. Joseph does not have any spoken words recorded in the Bible so I was quite worried if the movie will somehow 'destroy' my impression with his words. Thank God, the movie is faithful to show him as the protector of the Holy Family and support both Mary and Jesus when bad things come.
The movie ends with Mary telling young Jesus on the story of the Annunciation and asking him not to manifest his power until the time has come. Fast forward to wedding at Cana and no wonder Jesus 'scolded' Mary and told her that his hour has not come yet. Haha.. Last time that was what Mary told him ma... Quite plausible right?
Despite all the negative reviews, I am glad and I feel blessed that I watched this. I don't watch this for entertainment purpose and I am not watching this to verify its accuracy (there is no verification needed in the first place as there is no written evidence of Jesus' childhood). However, I am glad that I feel recharged spiritually to see how the Holy Family could possibly struggle and yet remain holy and faithful. It definitely inspires me to press on to follow the Way of Life no matter how shitty life can be. For that, I like this even better than Risen that I watched last week.