Son of God is a 2014 American epic biblical drama feature, produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey. The film was adapted from the ten-hour miniseries The Bible, which aired in March 2013 on History channel.
Son of God (Movie)
John, the last surviving disciple of Christ, is living in exile as he tells his story.
Jesus was born to a virgin, and three visiting wise men declare “Him” the future King. 33 years later, an adult Jesus Christ (Diogo Morgado) travels to Galilee and begins recruiting followers, from James, to his brother John, to Peter the fisherman, to Matthew the tax collector. These men and women would become His disciples. Through His teachings and numerous miracles, Jesus builds a huge following, who begin to call Him the Messiah. He also draws the attention of the Pharisees, the Jewish religious leaders. The Pharisees claim Jesus is blaspheming God by forgiving sins, which is something only God can do. Jesus responds by saying he is the Son of God.
Jesus announces to the disciples that they are to travel to Jerusalem for the upcoming Passover holiday. He enters the city on the back of a donkey and is met by a huge crowd of supporters who lay palm leaves in His path (this is celebrated today as Palm Sunday). Caiaphas, the head of the Pharisees, is afraid his presence in the city will further agitate the people, who are already in a near state of revolt against the oppressive Romans, led by Pontius Pilate. Earlier, Pilate warned Caiaphas that if there is any trouble from the Jews, he will close the temple, thus cancelling Passover. Upon entering the Temple, Jesus sees the money changers, and proceeds to turn over their tables. This act draws cheers from the people and scorn from the Pharisees. Later, Jesus tells a little girl that every stone of the Temple will soon fall. The Pharisees take this as a plan to destroy the Temple, and decide that Jesus must be stopped.
Judas, one of Jesus’ disciples, approaches the Pharisees. He also believes that Jesus is going too far and wants to help. They give him 30 pieces of silver for his assistance. That night (the night before Passover), Jesus tells the disciples that this will be their Last Supper, and says that one of them will betray Him. Later, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Judas kisses Jesus’ cheek, revealing his betrayal, and Jesus is then arrested by the Pharisees for blasphemy. The disciples then flee the garden to save themselves.
Caiaphas orders an immediate trial, even though it’s late at night and not in public, which are violations of Jewish law. He is afraid an open trial on Passover will cause trouble and Pilate will close the temple. Caiaphas asks Jesus if He is the Son of God, and He answers “I am”. This is all the Pharisees need to hear and they immediately find Him guilty of blasphemy.
That morning, to a growing crowd, Caiaphas announces Jesus’ guilt and reveals the penalty for blasphemy is death. Judas, horrified by what he has done, throws the silver at the Pharisees and runs off. He later hangs himself. Caiaphas believes if the Pharisees kill Jesus on Passover it would start a riot, so he turns him over to the Romans for the punishment. Pilate tells Caiaphas that Jesus didn’t break any Roman laws, but orders him to be lashed 40 times. Since it’s Passover, Pilate says that he will follow tradition and free a prisoner of the people’s choosing, and if they choose Jesus, He will be set free. By this time, Jesus’ mother Mary (Roma Downey) has arrived in Jerusalem to see what is happening to her son.
Pilate orders the crowd to enter his courtyard to choose whether to release Jesus or Barabbas, a convicted murderer. Since none of Jesus’ followers were allowed into the courtyard, Caiaphas easily sways the vote so that Barabbas is set free. Pilate then asks what he should do with Jesus, and again Caiaphas sways the crowd to have him executed by way of crucifixion. Fearing a riot among the hostile people, Pilate then orders the crucifixion, then literally washes his hands of the situation. A battered and bloodied Jesus then carries His cross to Golgotha and is nailed to it by the mocking Roman guards, who earlier had placed a crown of thorns on His head. Before the cross is put into place, Pilate orders a sign attached to it reading ‘The King of the Jews’, much to Caiaphas’ dismay. With John, Mary, and Mary Magdalene watching in horror, Jesus hangs from the cross for several agonizing hours. After forgiving the Romans, asking why God has forsaken Him, and declaring “It is finished”, Jesus dies. He is then lowered from the cross and placed into a tomb, which is sealed off with a large rock.
Three days later, Mary Magdalene goes to visit the tomb, but is shocked to see the rock broken into pieces and the tomb empty. She sees a man by the tomb’s entrance, and realizes it is Jesus. He has been resurrected! Mary goes to the disciples’ hiding place and tells them the good news, but they don’t believe her. Jesus then appears to them, and they all now believe, except “Doubting” Thomas. Once Thomas touches Jesus, then he believes. 40 days later, Jesus is speaking to his disciples and tells them to travel the world to spread His message. He then ascends into Heaven, and the disciples go their separate ways.
The movie concludes with an elderly John saying that all of the disciples were eventually killed for their beliefs, except for him. He was exiled to live alone on a deserted island until he dies. John then sees Jesus, who tells him that he will not die, but have everlasting life, and He will return one day.
- Diogo Morgado as Jesus Christ
- Roma Downey as Mary, mother of Jesus
- Leila Mimmack as Young Virgin Mary
- Joe Coen as Saint Joseph
- Amber Rose Revah as Mary Magdalene
- Darwin Shaw as Saint Simon Peter
- Sebastian Knapp as Saint John
- Said Bey as Saint Matthew
- Matthew Gravelle as Saint Thomas
- Paul Marc Davis as Saint Simon
- Joe Wredden as Judas Iscariot
- Louise Delamere as Claudia
- Simon Kunz as Nicodemus
- Adrian Schiller as Caiaphas
- Andrew Brooke as Antonius
- Anas Cherin as Lazarus
- Fraser Ayres as Barabbas
- Greg Hicks as Pontius Pilate
- Rick Bacon as Herod Antipas
On its first night of release, the film brought in $1.2 million in box office revenue in North American theaters, benefiting greatly from advance ticket sales. It was predicted by Box Office Mojo that the film would likely make $27.5 million in North America in its first weekend of release; it ended up making $26.5 million in its first weekend.
The film has received negative reviews from critics. It currently holds a 22% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 59 reviews with the consensus: “The faithful may find their spirits raised, but on purely cinematic terms, Son of God is too dull and heavy-handed to spark much fervor.” Another review aggregator, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 top reviews from mainstream critics, calculated a score of 38 based on 22 reviews.
Nell Minow of Beliefnet gave the film a B grade, saying “It tells the story in a westernized, conventional manner that can seem superficial at times, more a cinematicSunday School lesson than a movie. It is unlikely to persuade anyone, but it is undeniably moving and many believers will find it inspiring.” Jim Slotek of theToronto Sun gave the film 3 stars. 
Ben Kenigsberg of The A.V. Club gave the film a mixed review, grading it a C and saying, “Unlike Gibson’s film, with its relentless and gory focus on Christ’s last days,Son Of God finds time for lessons along with its bloodletting. […] Accompanied by a score that sounds recycled from The Fountain, the most famous scenes are trotted out: “I’ll give my stone to the first man who tells me that he has never sinned”; the loaves and fishes; the resurrection of Lazarus; the last supper. It’s unlikelyPaul Verhoeven will ever get to make his historical Christ movie, but to the extent that Son Of God has a measure of dramatic impact, it’s how it illustrates the radicalism of Jesus’ message and the threat it posed to the establishment. At any rate, the core ideas are more compelling than the bad effects shots of Jerusalem, the cheesy CG water-walking, or whatever exchanges require the actors to emit something other than a declarative shout.”
A negative review came from Steve Pulaski of Influx Magazine, who commented, “Son of God will undoubtedly provoke personal and spiritual tensions within its core audience, but for those looking a bit deeper, for something more enlightening and contemplative, will be disappointed to find nothing much here aside from a biblical melodrama.”