Strongly leaning toward a Biblical world view
|Faith and/or Biblical Relevance|
|Faith-compatible Depiction of Characters and Character Relationships|
|Faith-compatible Depiction of Situations|
|Family Viewing Suitability|
|view our criteria|
SummaryKicking off Hollywood’s self-proclaimed “Year of the Bible Movie” is the release of Son of God in theaters nationwide on Friday, February 28, by 20th Century Fox. Produced by Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Voice, Shark Tank, The Apprentice) and Roma Downey (Touched by an Angel) and fashioned from content previously aired in their hit 2013 The Bible mini-series, Son of God tells the story of Jesus from His humble birth through His teachings, death, resurrection and ascension.
Overall Faith and/or Biblical Relevance
While some may quibble with minor content details related to editorial decisions made by the writers as they compressed the life of Jesus into an epic 138-minute screenplay, Son of God sticks closely to the biblical accounts found in the Gospels. Told from the perspective of the Apostle John from his exile on the island of Patmos, Son of God clearly presents Jesus as the Messiah and appropriately places the story in a very Jewish context under the historic reality of a cruel Roman occupation and the accompanying secular and religious political intrigue culminating in His death by crucifixion. With additional content not found in The Bible mini-series, Son of God s goes full circle through Jesus’ resurrection and ascension and ends on Patmos with His appearance to John as the Alpha and Omega recorded in the Book of Revelation.
Faith-compatible Depiction of Characters and Character Relationships
As the story of Jesus’ life unfolds in Son of God, the writers remain largely true to the biblical depictions of Mary, His mother, the wise men, the disciples Peter, John, Thomas and Judas, Jewish leaders Caiaphas and Nicodemus, and key Roman authorities such as Pilate. Only in the case of Mary Magdalene do we see a possible over reading of Scripture in which she is portrayed as if she were a disciple in a similar vein to how the Bible speaks of the Twelve. Despite this, each character is depicted in ways that fairly represent the biblical narrative and the central biblical question of exactly who Jesus was is not avoided nor diminished.
Faith-compatible Depiction of Situations
Whether the scenes in Son of God are uplifting and wonderful to behold (as with the teachings and miracles of Jesus) or challenging and difficult to sit through (as with the brutal torture leading up to the trial of Jesus and the agonizing reality of Roman crucifixion), all are treated in a respectful and realistic manner true to the biblical text. While not as graphic as The Passion of the Christ, Son of God does not discount or downplay the horrific sufferings that Jesus endured as the Lamb of God who is sacrificed during the Jewish Passover Feast for the sins of the world. With no hint of theological revisionism, even the complexity of Judas’ betrayal and suicide is handled well and biblically. In the end, Son of God clearly presents the Gospel message of redemption, reconciliation and hope for all who believe in Jesus.
Family Viewing Suitability
While the biblical message of Son of God is meant for people of all ages, care and discernment must be taken with younger children who may not be old enough to fully understand the harsh reality and excruciating suffering associated with a Roman crucifixion. Here, the PG-13 rating is appropriate.
With its spectacular cinematography and high quality production values, cast, musical score and writing, Son of God director Christopher Spencer has raised the bar for biblically themed films. For those who saw The Bible mini-series, Son of God may ring overly familiar and therefore be less engaging. However, as only the third movie focusing on the life of Jesus in the last 50 years, there is enough new content framing the story – and woven throughout – to merit not only supporting the movie in theaters but also taking non-believing friends and family along with you to see it on the big screen. Helpfully, Burnett and Downey have also developed a set of teaching and preaching resources that can be found on the Son of God website and used in home, Bible study, small group or church setting.