HIS ONLY SON is a dramatic retelling of the story of Abraham from Genesis, with a focus on God’s commandment to Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, on Mount Moriah. The movie takes a contemplative look at God’s command, Abraham’s struggle with carrying it out, and their meaning. As Abraham and his son travel to the mountain, the movie artfully depicts the patriarch’s life up to that moment. The tension is palpable as Abraham, the man of faith, and his only son reach the mountain.
HIS ONLY SON tells a deep story, with good performances, but so-so production values. It deals with its historical subject in a biblically accurate way. In focusing on a difficult biblical passage, it brings deep philosophical and psychological insight into Abraham’s situation. Viewers will feel Abraham’s pain as he seeks to obey God’s will. HIS ONLY SON has a strong Christian, biblical worldview that connects Abraham’s story to Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection. MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for older children due to the story’s weighty nature, some peril and references to the physical condition of Abraham’s wife.
(CCC, BBB, V, S):
Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Very strong Christian, biblical worldview connects Abraham’s story in the Book of Genesis to Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection
No foul language
Some violence includes God tells a man to sacrifice his son on a mountain as a burnt offering, man raises a knife in preparation for this sacrifice, some men stop others on the road and try to steal from them before learning who they are and deciding to leave them alone, a man is found on the road, covered in blood, and mumbles something about his daughter, before dying (blood on arm and hand), a man picks up a rock to hit a man, and the man knocks him down, a man threatens another with a sword and knocks him down hard enough for him to see visions, there is a bit of blood on a young man’s head after a fight, a man raises a knife to slay his son but is stopped in the act
A woman talks about she and her husband having tried to have children and having her period and being barren, a man’s infidelity at his wife’s behest is implied but not shown, a man operating a brothel berates travelers on the road trying to get them to pay for what he’s offering, and a man talks about making a young man “an effeminate”
No alcohol use
Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
No smoking or drugs; and,
Nothing else objectionable.
HIS ONLY SON is a dramatic retelling of the Bible story from Genesis 22, about God’s commandment to Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, as a burnt offering on Mount Moriah, with some scenes showing what Abraham and his wife, Sarah, went through earlier. HIS ONLY SON is a biblically accurate historical drama that points to the connections that Abraham’s story has with the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah who has become a Light for Gentiles as well as for Jews.
The movie takes a contemplative look at God’s paradoxical command about Isaac to Abraham, Abraham’s struggle with carrying it out, and the meaning of this difficult passage from Genesis 22. As one Hebrew scholar puts it, “God took a landless man and a childless woman, gave them both of these gifts, and then tells the man to sacrifice his heir, the son of promise, on a mountaintop.” As Abraham, his son and two servants travel to the mountain, the movie artfully depicts the patriarch’s life up to the moment of his supreme test. It begins with God’s call to Abraham to leave Haran and travel to the Land of Canaan. It then proceeds to God establishing his covenant with Abraham in Hebron in Canaan. Other flashbacks show Abraham and Sarah’s attempt to speed up God’s plan, followed by Isaac’s birth.
Along the way to the mountain, Abraham’s party runs into the servants of Abimelech, the Philistine King of Gerar, who once experienced firsthand the power of the God of Abraham (Genesis 20). As they arrive at their destination, the tension is palpable as this man of faith says, as he does in Genesis 22:5, “I and the boy will go over there and worship and come back to you.”
Many people have wrestled with this story’s meaning throughout the years “with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). However, what might this new revisiting of Abraham’s story have to teach viewers today?
HIS ONLY SON has overall good performances, especially that of the patriarch Abraham (Nicholas Mouawad), but so-so production values. Following the narrative of Genesis 22 faithfully, the filmmakers’ additions are historically accurate, probable and plausible. It has a darker, contemplative mood, which is very fitting given what must have been the state of mind of Abraham, the “father of a multitude,” as he traveled to carry out a task that, if he goes through with it, will not only break his heart but also would be the obliteration of the divine promise he has received from God concerning in his only son, Isaac. Here, one of the most emotional and illustrative stories from all of Scripture, comes alive with all the anguish, uncertainty and dismay that Soren Kierkegaard expressed while wrestling with the meaning of story of Abraham and Isaac the story in his book, FEAR AND TREMBLING. HIS ONLY SON invites moviegoers to enter into this dramatic struggle of faith and fear, and, hopefully, emerge the better for having done so.
HIS ONLY SON has a strong Christian, biblical worldview the movie’s overall worldview is biblical Christianity. The story of Abraham is one of the oldest recorded historical stories. The movie depicts Abraham as the great man of faith that he was. In one scene talking to his son, Abraham says, “Sometimes the Lord calls us to difficult tasks. . . impossible tasks.” Isaac responds, saying, “Is anything too difficult for the Lord?” Abraham, with obvious pain, answers resolutely, “No.” Ultimately, the filmmakers accomplish what is difficult to do for any retelling, to make a well-known Bible story seem fresh for a new generation of human beings desperately seeking a reliable, meaningful and transcendent story to inspire them and guide them.
HIS ONLY SON, which was completely crowdfunded, focuses on a very difficult biblical passage, and handles it well. As such, it delves deeply, not only dramatically, but also philosophically and psychologically, into Abraham’s plight. The movie opens with an image reciting two powerful statements by Jesus to the Jews in John 8:56 and 8:58 in the New Testament: “Abraham rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad,” and “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am,” obviously connecting the story of Abraham’s test in HIS ONLY SON to Jesus Christ. The movie ends by taking viewers to the scene of a man on a cross 2000 years later, on the same mountain on which God told Abraham to sacrifice his only son. This recalls the teaching of Christ reported in Luke 24:27: “And, beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He [JESUS] interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”
MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for older children due to the story’s weighty nature and content, plus some peril and discussion of the inability of Abraham’s wife to become pregnant. Otherwise, HIS ONLY SON is a movie for the whole family to see.
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