Reviewed by Karen Pietrusinski
Taken from Anne Rice's "Christ the Lord out of Egypt", the film, "The Young Messiah " is captivating and beautifully done. I wonder if many others tried to imagine what the Savior of the World was like as a seven-year-old boy. The movie takes liberties with Sacred Scripture but it is done so beautifully and reverently. The script takes us back to that time when Rome violently and oppressively ruled that part of the world.
The narrative begins with Jesus, Mary and Joseph are residing in Egypt along with Cleopas and his wife Miriam along with their son, James. There are more children but James is most interactive with the child Jesus. Imagine the Savior as a curious, sensitive and playful seven-year- old, who has his share of troubles but not so much that he doesn't enjoy being who He is, - a seven-year-old boy. The Holy family leaves Egypt after Joseph has a dream that Herod the elder has died. The problem is, unbeknownst to Mary and Joseph, is that there is an order from Herod's son to eliminate the Child Jesus.
Cleopas is cast as the humorous relatives .When Joseph learns through a dream that it was safe for the family to return to Nazareth, he retorts with, "What is it with dreams, angels and this family?" When Jesus was presented to the rabbi in Nazareth and is able to not only recite Sacred Scripture but anticipate what the rabbi will ask. Cleopas says, "They have rabbis in Egypt too."
The entire focus of the plot is that the Jesus Christ wants to know the circumstances surrounding His birth and who He is. There are instances where Jesus is praying to His Father in heaven. He nearly has James revealing the circumstances that will give Him a clue to His true identity. James cuts himself off from revealing those circumstances after which Cleopas prods Joseph and Mary to speak with Jesus about his birth. There is a wonderful scene where Mary, and I am paraphrasing, tells Jesus that He shall grow in wisdom but should keep those powers inside until God the Father makes it known when they are to be revealed. This film was fast moving and very creative filling in some of the blanks of the Lord Jesus' childhood.