Hello, Movie Buffs! My name is Lucy and I am a HUGE movie buff with 700+ movies, so I decided to write a blog. Ask Lucy: Movies is a blog review dedicated to movies both new and old. Here I review movies as unbiased and spoiler free as possible, as well as rate the film on whether its worth buying or not.
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October 3, 2018
Paul, Apostle of Christ (2018) --- “Their Faith Challenged An Empire But Where Sin Abounds, Grace Abounds More.”
Risking his life, Luke ventures to Rome to visit Paul -- the apostle who's bound in chains and held captive in Nero's darkest and bleakest prison cell. Haunted by the shadows of his past misdeeds, Paul wonders if he's been forgotten as he awaits his grisly execution. Before Paul's death, Luke resolves to write another book that details the birth of what will come to be known as the church. (1)
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Hello, Movie Buffs!
Directed and co-written by Andrew Hyatt (Full of Grace), co-written by Terence Berden (Full of Grace), and from the studio that brought us Risen (2016), Paul, Apostle of Christ (2018) is an entertaining and uplifting film set in Nero’s Rome of AD 67 where the Apostle Paul has been imprisoned and is awaiting his execution by beheading.
The book of Acts closes while Paul is under house arrest in Rome (Acts 26 - 28) and Scripture gives several indications that he was set free after a few years. We also know that he was arrested some years later during another missionary trip but apart from a few mentions in 2 Timothy 4 we do not have this period of Paul’s life recorded in Scripture. So in order to create a storyline, the filmmakers start the film after Paul’s arrest and depict a story that is somewhat consistent with what we know of Paul’s final imprisonment through both Scripture and extra-biblical records.
The story is wonderfully written as it depicts Rome during the peak of Nero’s persecution and it does not shy away from thoroughly exploring the trials and tribulations that the Christians faced during this time. While this film was concerned with being authentic to Paul’s character or his message it does manage to captivate audiences on an emotional level, even more so if you’re a person of faith. While we know God’s Word, each person must be carefully discerned what is the right thing to do because it may be different for everyone. Throughout the film, we see the following characters and several others struggle with their faith and doing the right thing in the face of turmoil.
Luke (Jim Caviezel) agonizes over the value of it all, of love instead of hate, after seeing the suffering of so many Christians at the hands of the Romans. While Paul (James Faulkner) is not immune from his own struggles as he is afflicted with the images of those he killed while he was zealous towards God (Acts 22:3-4, Acts 26:9–11) and he mourns deeply. But as the two engage in conversation every day, they are reminded of God’s power, the grace of God that has forgiven his sins through Christ’s blood, and the glory that awaits his believers in Heaven. Aquila (John Lynch) and Priscilla (Joanne Whalley) care for and give hope to a large community of underground Christians but they struggle with several a decision. Should they leave in order to protect the community or should the stay and risk the lives of the community because of their presences in Rome? But will leaving Rome actually protect the community or will it leave them even more unprotected? Cassius (Alessandro Sperduti), a young Roman who taken in by the community, has lost too much at the hands of the Romans and like other zealous young men seeks to deal vengeance by the sword. His mind and feelings tell him to respond to the Romans in kind, while many, including Paul himself, advise him to respond hate with love instead of more hate. Cassius faces an ultimate decision that I am sure we can all relate to. When the things we hold dear are stripped away do we trust God to avenge us or do we rely on our own strength to free us?
The cast gave good performances all around and none of the roles felt phony. However, I did find a few to be lacking in authenticity, most notably Paul. The film portrays Paul as a meek and humble servant that boasts only about the Word and his own weaknesses. He deters from his own strengths by boasting about the power of God and the ascendancy of Jesus Christ. Although this is good, it fails to portray Paul accurately to Scripture. The Paul who wrote 2/3 of the New Testament appears to be both a strong and valiant leader as well as a meek and humble servant of God. When he is a changed man who knows he’s been made a new creature and has not only asked God for forgiveness for his sins but has also forgiven himself for what he did against the church. Sometimes we see this Paul peek out amongst all the woe is me but we never really see him come to fruition until probably the very end.
Overall, Paul, Apostle of Christ (2018) is an uplifting and entertaining film with a message that says great evil can only be conquered by greater good. The story is wonderfully written as it depicts Rome during the peak of Nero’s persecution and it does not shy away from thoroughly exploring the trials and tribulations that the Christians faced during this time. The cast gave good performances and it was nice to see a couple characters, Aquila and Priscilla, that could have easily been overlooked. Although it was not completely accurate to Scriptures in certain areas it is no less a good watch. If you enjoyed devotional films then I am sure you will enjoy this one too.
“Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own [will], is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
- Paul the Apostle
Worth Seeing: 7.8 of 10 star
Worth Buying: 7.8 of 10 stars
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David and Goliath (2015)
Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)
Genesis: Paradise Lost (2017)
God the Father (2014)
Joseph: King of Dreams (2000) Mary Magdalene (2018)