“Son of God,” a new movie depicting the life of Christ according to Gospels, saw tremendous success and positive reviews when it opened in theaters at the end of February.
The movie, which opened Feb. 28, grossed $26.5 million at the box office on opening weekend, far surpassing BoxOffice.com’s prediction of $17.5 million.
Yahoo fans gave the film 4.5 stars, and on March 4, it became the No. 1 fan-rated film on Fandago.
Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh has joined several other Catholic commentators in praising the movie, saying that it “really brings to the center of our attention” that Mary and Joseph “like all of us, struggle to really embrace the promises that God gives us.”
“The film captured that human struggle that obviously both of them had, a human struggle that we all have, of taking to heart that when God makes a promise, he’s going to keep it.”
The bishop said he was struck by several “powerful” scenes, but especially the movie’s depiction of the birth of Jesus.
“When the Magi bow down before the infant Jesus, the look of both surprise and relief in the eyes of both Mary and Joseph really confirmed the promise that they were both given, a promise that they both struggled with, that this really was a special gift, that this was the son of God,” he said in a video released by Motive Entertainment, a marketer for the movie.
“Son of God” was released by the makers of the popular History Channel television miniseries “The Bible.” The movie, based on the Gospels, covers the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ.
Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado plays the role of Jesus.
Eduardo Verastegui, an executive producer of the movie, said the story of Jesus Christ is “the perfect story, the most beautiful love story of all times.” He said he believes the movie is “a spiritual experience.”
Verastegui said he was grateful for the movie’s “beautiful” depiction of the Last Supper, noting “that’s where the Eucharist was instituted for the first time.”
“It was so beautiful,” he said. “There is no words to describe so much beauty in that scene.”
Verastegui said he has gone to Communion every day for the last 12 years.
“There is nothing greater on earth than the Holy Eucharist,” he said. “I go to Mass everyday not because I am a good person, but because I am a weak person and because I need Jesus in my heart.”
Brandon Vogt, content director for Word on Fire Catholic Ministries, also voiced his appreciation for the movie.
He said the film brings Jesus Christ to life in “dazzling ways.” Its “powerful” acting helps viewers “experience the life, death and Resurrection of Jesus in new and illuminating ways.”
Vogt particularly noted the film’s depiction of the first meeting of Jesus and Peter, which begins with a focus on Jesus contemplating a rock and rubbing it in his hands.
“You can almost see the inference going through his mind,” Vogt said. “This was Peter, of whom he would later say ‘You are Peter, and on this Rock I will build my Church’.”
He said he was particularly impressed by the scene in which Jesus waded out into the water to Peter’s boat – despite the apostle’s objections – to request his help into the vessel.
This depiction is “extremely symbolic of the spiritual life,” according to Vogt. He said that God wants to move into people’s wills and imagination but “doesn’t force himself in.”
God’s desire is “not an imposition but a proposition,” Vogt said.
Bishop Zubik said he strongly encourages people to see the film. He said it will help Christian viewers to understand Jesus both as the Son of God and as a human being, and added that the film will also touch those who are “wavering in faith” or lack faith.
“I can guarantee that once you walk away from viewing this film, not only will your heart be touched, but your soul will stir with faith and gratitude for all that God has done for us in the past and all that he continues to do for us in the present,” the bishop said.
The “Son of God” movie, which is being distributed by Twentieth Century Fox, has also drawn praise from Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles and Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus.