“The Young Messiah” is a well-acted, biblically-based film, which makes use of creative and dramatic license and imagines what the life of young Jesus may have been like between the ages of seven and 12. Based on the novel, “Christ The Lord: Out of Egypt” by Anne Rice, who had a spiritual awakening some years ago, it features an outstanding performance by Adam Greaves-Neal as young Jesus. He portrays the young Messiah as kind, humble, and obedient, as well as being smart as a whip. In one nice scene, when he is asked if God were a carpenter, he replies that God gave Noah the dimensions for the ark and God also gave the directions for the building of the temple. Adam is excellent in his role and, in fact, the entire cast does a remarkable job, particularly Sean Bean as Severus, a Roman centurion, Sara Lazzaro as Mary and Vincent Walsh as Joseph. They are all likable and proficient in their roles. Even Severus, though a ruthless killer when necessary, realizes that there is something “special” about young Jesus.
The film incorporates scenes of Jesus performing miracles as a boy, such as raising a bird from the dead. Even more amazingly, Jesus raises a young boy from the dead who had picked on him and then struck his head while tripping over an apple. Rory Keenan portrays either the devil or a demon and tosses the apple on the ground so the boy would trip over it. He also whispers negative words in people’s ears concerning Jesus. Young Jesus amazes those around him, including an old rabbi played by David Bradley. Yet he knows there is more to his life than he even understands, and he searches for that understanding. Eventually, in a compelling and dramatic scene, Mary tells him that “God is your father — you’re begotten of God.” Ultimately, Jesus acknowledges this and says, “Father, I am your child.” A lot of things happen between the beginning and end of the movie, including Jesus’ travels with his parents and his continuing ability to astound people with his deeds and his words, which are beyond his years. This imaginative narrative attempts to “fill in the gaps” of the life of Jesus between those years when he was seven and 12, when the scriptures say Mary and Joseph found him in the temple, speaking with the leaders.
The film has some scenes of violence, including instances of men on crosses, without being nailed, and the violence of the Roman soldiers, who wield their swords. Yet the scenes are not gratuitous. The film is imaginative and captures moments that could have happened in the life of young Jesus. Though obviously the missing years in the life of Jesus are imagined, the movie adheres to the Gospel story of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem to Mary and Joseph, their flight into Egypt, and his love for the Scriptures and his Father’s house. We are pleased to award the film our “Faith-Friendly” Seal for ages 12-plus. “The Young Messiah” vividly portrays the early life of Jesus as he surely was — a special boy who was much more than a carpenter’s son.