The Worthwhile Extra-Biblical “The Young Messiah”

In The Young Messiah (2016) Jesus, as a young boy, does not yet know that God the Father has predestined him to be . . . everything.  Alpha and Omega.  The Savior of the world.  Cyrus Nowrasteh crafted the film in such a way as to suggest that the earthly existence of the child is relevant to all humanity, as when he shows Jesus looking intently at various individuals.  And when he shows him intermittently doing what his parents generally oppose him doing: performing a healing.  How could he not be the Anointed One?

Based on an Anne Rice novel, Christ the Lord Out of Egypt, the movie explores not only the theme of destiny but also the themes of family love and loyalty, the Fatherhood of God, and the actually inescapable nature of the invisible world. . . There is weakness in The Young Messiah, and the film can get confusing.  But Adam Greaves-Neal is the right fit for Jesus, along with some fine acting emanating from Christian McKay as the boy’s uncle, Sean Bean as the Roman Severus, and Sara Lazzaro as Mary.  It is an interesting work with many sapid touches, e.g. several Herod-sent Roman soldiers clearly disinclined to seize the young Jesus before whom they stand.

“Late Spring,” Of You I Sing

Cover of "Late Spring - Criterion Collect...

Cover of Late Spring – Criterion Collection

Another great, or at least very good, Yasujiro Ozu film, Late Spring (1949) concerns a young Japanese woman, Noriko (Setsuko Hara), whose 56-year-old father (Chisu Ryu) wants her to marry despite the daughter’s insistence that she is happy simply to live with and take care of the  middle-aged gent.  Indeed, it is a matter not only of happiness but also of obligation—in Noriko’s eyes, not the eyes of others.  Sadly, Noriko feels despondent over the upcoming matrimony she has agreed to.

This Ozu (director-scenarist)-Kogo Noda (scenarist) adaptation of a novel is excellent on the theme of painful transitions, and as open-eyed about loneliness as other Ozu films.  There are longueurs here and rather too much music, but certainly the film is far more interesting than the boring Noh play several of the characters serenely watch.  Hara is superlative and Ozu’s style a gentle wonder ready to undergo a nice extension for such later movies as Tokyo Story.

(In Japanese with English subtitles)

Setsuko Hara in the Japanese motion picture La...

Setsuko Hara in the Japanese motion picture Late Spring (1949). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Jane The Bachelorette In “Jane the Virgin”

Shes a VirginSo far I’m indifferent to My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.  Jane the Virgin is crazy enough, for all its soapy conventionality.  In the most recent episode, a Jane doppelganger called Bachelorette Jane shows up, pleading for our heroine to hurry up and choose which man to marry.  She isn’t a shadowy doppelganger, though; she’s a lively reality-show doppelganger, and the gag is extended far enough to show Jane’s suitors, Michael and Rafael, being interviewed re the virgin miss’s response to them.

The gimmicks continue.  At any rate it was a decent episode, better than the one two weeks ago.  Poor Petra has to put up with men again, the caricatures Scott and Lachlan, but, well, she’s also culpable for throwing a major scare into Rafael.  My crazy ex-wife!

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