“The Young Messiah” (Focus)

Adam Greaves-Neal stars in a scene from the movie "The Young Messiah." The Catholic News Service classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. (CNS photo/Focus)

By Catholic News Service

This engaging dramatization remains faithful to the underlying message of scripture even as it speculates about the childhood of Jesus (played here, age 7, by Adam Greaves-Neal), a topic on which the Gospels are virtually silent.

As Joseph (Vincent Walsh) leads his family back from exile in Egypt, he and Mary (Sara Lazzaro) struggle to understand and guide their unique son, whose supernatural identity is at least partially known to his relatives — including his uncle Cleopas (Christian McKay) and cousin James (Finn McLeod Ireland) — and whose miraculous powers are already apparent.¬†Danger pursues the extended clan in the person of a Roman centurion (Sean Bean) who has orders from King Herod (Jonathan Bailey) to find and kill the boy and in the figure of Satan (Rory Keenan) whose presence only Jesus can sense.

Director and co-writer Cyrus Nowrasteh’s screen version of Anne Rice’s 2005 novel “Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt” sensitively explores the mystery of the Incarnation in a way that will both intrigue and entertain viewers of most ages. Though discreetly handled, some mature elements bar endorsement for the youngest moviegoers. Combat violence with slight gore, scenes of crucifixion, an attempted rape, at least one crass term.

The Catholic News Service classification is A-II — adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

Click here for full reviews of this and other current movies by Catholic News Service.

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