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What Parents Need to Know About "Paul: Apostle of Christ " Before Seeing It with Their Family

Mormon Moviegoers is a collective of LDS film reviewers helping you to make informed decisions about Hollywood films. It was founded by family counselor Jonathan Decker (of Ask a Mormon Therapist).

Is It Any Good?

Grade: B

In a Nutshell: Just in time for the Easter season, this Christian movie brings Paul and Luke, both faithful followers of Jesus Christ, to the big screen with their unique friendship and affirming messages.

This PG-13 film is VERY heavy, dark, gory, and even depressing. In that regard, it's very realistic. The film states at the end that is has been “dedicated to all those who have been persecuted for their faith.” Christians will leave with a feeling of reverence and increased respect for the early Christians.

While this movie really won’t convince non-believers to turn their lives over to Christ, it is another arrow in the quiver of recent Christian movies that build faith and testimony. Christian movies are slowly getting better and I'm grateful that Christian audiences support them in movie theaters.

What Parents Need to Know

There are a lot of gruesome images of torture, deaths, bodies burning, and suffering. I’m almost surprised that this movie wasn’t rated R because of so many brutal scenes.

There is a LOT of talking with not very much action. Most children will be bored.

It's definitely not a feel-good popcorn movie for a fun Friday night. It is, however, a thought-provoking film that will make you think and feel.

Uplifting Themes

  • Enduring faith
  • Forgiveness
  • Be the light.
  • Peace begins with you.
  • “Love is the only way.” – Luke
  • “We cannot repay evil with evil. Evil can only be overcome with good.” – Paul
  • “Men do not die for things they doubt.” – Paul
  • “We live for the Lord. We die for the Lord. Whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” – Paul
  • Through suffering, good can come.

Things I Liked

  • I really like Jim Caviezel. Knowing that he is a solid Christian makes me like him even more, especially as he tries to lend his big star name and talent to Christian movies, which are often seen as amateur and cheesy. Jim Caviezel gave impressive strength to Mel Gibson's The Passion of The Christ. Do you want to know what he did with a lot of the money he earned from that movie? He adopted three special needs children. Wow.
  • I like the Giving Films logo and the name “Affirm Films.”
  • The production value was very high. Good technical work.
  • I thought the Lord’s Prayer scene was powerful.
  • The ending was very sweet.
  • Filming was done in Malta, where Paul actually went on one of his journeys.
  • There is some good humor.
  • Some of the dialogue was full of rich wisdom.
  • I really like it when movie theaters don't instantly raise the lights when a movie ends. Audiences are able to sit and reflect for a few minutes and even compose themselves before the lights turn back on.
  • I really liked the scene where Luke told Paul that he saw Jesus in him when Paul taught the gospel. What a great compliment. Oh, that people could see Christ in us!

Things I Didn’t Like

  • There are a LOT of scenes in dark corners and dungeons, making it hard to see what’s going on. There are also a lot of scenes with whispered conversations, making it hard to hear what’s being said.
  • The various accents were distracting. Characters spoke with British accents, French, American, and one guy even sounded Scottish.
  • Paul's famous “Road to Damascus” scene was surprisingly short. I wanted more.
  • Some of the flashbacks could have been done better. It seemed like they were reusing footage to save money.
  • It drags in some places, especially during the first half. My sister and I both got drowsy and had to keep each other awake. That's not good!

Thought-Provoking Lines

“The Devil sneaks in the darkness here.” – Paul (James Faulkner)

“All men are a slave to something.” – Paul

“Where sin abounds, grace abounds more.” – Paul

“In a moment, you will know you know God’s love and I hope it is soon.” – Paul

“They will know us for our love.” – Paul

In an online interview with Jim Cazievel, he mentioned how he could watch good Christian movies like Ben Hur over and over. Be sure to watch that movie again this Easter season. It's old, but it's extremely powerful!

For movie night recommendations and Gospel discussion guides, order 250 Great Movies for Latter-day Families, available in paperback and Kindle.

Lead image from IMDb

Trina Boice is an author of 23 books and teaches online for BYU-Idaho in the Pathway program.  She received the Young Mother of the Year honor in 2004, an award that completely amuses her 4 sons. She’s a popular international speaker in China and writes movie reviews at www.MovieReviewMom.com You can find her books in LDS bookstores, on Amazon, and at www.TrinasBooks.com

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