Mary Mother of Jesus 1999 - Movie Review
“Mary, mother of Jesus” - made by Hallmark in 1999. The film was directed by Kevin Connor and produced by Howard Ellis. Main cast: Christian Bale as - Jesus from Nazareth, Pernilla August - Mary from Nazareth, Melinda Kinnaman - young Mary, David Threfall - Joseph, Geraldine Chaplin – Elizabeth. Robert Addie played the procurator of Judea Pontus Pilate.
“Mary, mother of Jesus” it's a new sight at the New Testament, an evangelical theme fantasy. It isn't a story of Jesus' from Nazareth, but a history of Jesus' MOTHER – Mary.
In this time Judea suffers a burden of slavery from Rome. Strangers trample down the Holy land. Conquerors behave as well as it is necessary to Romans: "only tears to defeated nations." The atmosphere is heated up to the limit, people do not know where to go, whom to trust. The need for change is felt in the sultry air.
The people of Judea are waiting for the Messiah. The majority, being rescued from the terrible reality, convulsively clutch onto ancient laws, not trying to understand sense - from here comes the stoning to death of a prostitute, and a fanatical shine in eyes of those who killed her. They have read Holy Scriptures this way. They believe - God would be satisfied... because they act according God's Word, which is absolute. But they forget, that to understand a full meaning of Scriptures is not given for any of us.
In the beginning of the film we see young Mary, who is beautiful, gentle, goodhearted. She intercedes for the killed woman with words, that the God doesn't like it, only the people changed His Law and His Words.
The Holy Spirit speaks with Mary and promises her that she'll have a son. The girl is not married yet – she is a virgin, Joseph is going to marry her. This time Mary goes to visit Elizabeth, and she wonders a lot seeing her elderly relative pregnant and that her husband Zahariah has lost his ability to speak, because he doubted the word of an angel, that his wife will bear a son. Mary finds out suddenly that she is pregnant too. Elizabeth tells her that she herself heard a voice of angel and child of Mary - from God.
Mary steps into the time of great happiness but also of much greater pain. ”Do you believe that there is nothing impossible for God?" - Mary enthusiastically asks Joseph, and after she receives the affirmative answer, opens him the secret -she has the son of God in her belly! But Joseph doesn't trust her. And nobody will believe her. The faith has left Judea, the people have lost direction and the desire for God, only words remain.. Words of the Law which were dead without the soul of belief.
Joseph, having accused the bride of infidelity, leaves her. The furious crowd wants to throw stones at the pregnant Mary. But suddenly Joseph protects her – he has heard the voice of angel and saw a revelation at night, and his heart was opened, and he believed in the impossible.
Further events develop in a well known way- the birth of baby Jesus in a shed, in the city of Bethlehem, evil King Herod who tries to kill him, a new star over Bethlehem – the King is born! A few years later we can see an older Mary telling her son a fairy tale before dream, and protecting him from severe boys. Every time she knows, that her boy isn't only the child but the son of God, a Lamb for a sacrifice. It's important for the mother? He is her son at first!
It is this that is the main idea of the film - to show the fate of the mother of the great man. During the whole film in Mary's soul there is a struggle between being only a mortal mother and mother of God's son. But in this moment when Magdalena informs, that Jesus is seized, these two parts of the soul of the mother are united.
Blood in film. There is some blood, of course, but only a necessary minimum. For example, when the head of John was thrown under the feet of his mother. Elizabeth's feelings were played excellently! Jesus' sufferings and crucifixion were shown in correct proportions too, without additional naturalism. We can see Jesus in a purple cloak and with a thorny wreath, it is visible, that he was beaten, but any streams of blood weren't shown.
The moment of Mary's meeting with the risen Jesus is indicative. She sees his shining sanctity with a sadness. Jesus is resurrected as a Son of God, but her boy is dead. A true hero Mary becomes only in the end when saying goodbye to apostles: "Our work only now begins!”
It would be desirable to note the work of actors - Mary is magnificent, maybe too serious a little, but living with knowledge about the fate of her son it is difficult to smile. Jesus is without colour a little; in some moments the role seems too complex for the actor. Suits and historical surroundings cause dual feelings. On the one hand - all almost all clothes and surroundings correspond to the epoch and the religious requirements - the covered heads, striped dressing gowns for men, head coverlets for women, but the small houses shining with whiteness and purity, always ironed and starched clothes – a unreal picture which causes a smile of mistrust.
It's a bit unusual to see Robert Addie in so serious role of Pontus Pilate, but he has connected with it excellently. We first see him in a high window looking down at the crowds cheering the person on a white donkey. "Again their messianic nonsenses ", - the procurator for certain thinks. Mary lifts eyes up at him and meets a severe sight of cold eyes of Pilate - and she seems to sense that he’ll play a part in Jesus’ death. Then he is having a conversation in which he states that Jesus doesn’t seem to be causing any trouble, though he agrees to post extra men around the gates. When Jesus is arrested, he presides at the trial and asks the people to choose between the robber and Jesus. Almost everyone votes to free the robber.
Pilate asks Jesus why he won’t call his followers to arms and almost seems to be pleading with him. When Jesus says nothing, Pilate shouts the sentence (with his voice full of emotions): “Crucify him!” In the handwashing scene Pilate just dips his hands in a basin wipes them quickly on a towel and then glances back at the people in disgust, throwing the towel down on them. He doesn't say any words- maybe it works better this way: the look says it all!
Real Pilate maybe was indifferent to the people he judged but Pilate played by Robert Addie looks nervous and twists his mouth like his former character sir Guy from Robin of Sherwood. But in an adult way now – we can see the rage not causing a pity. Before us - the true Roman procurator.
The role of Pontius Pilate was one of the best latest roles of Robert Addie.