If you grow up in a Christian (or in my case LDS) household you hear the same Bible stories over and over again that it can be easy to forget how strange some of them are. For example, how strange is it that people decorate a nursery for their baby using Noah’s ark themes when that story is about almost the entire human race except one boat being drowned. While perhaps not quite as extreme this same phenomenon can be seen with the story of Abraham and Isaac. It is truly a horrific thing God is asking Abraham to do but one we learn about from such an early age it probably doesn’t feel that way.
Now we have a new cinematic version of this classic story called His Only Son and for the most part they do a pretty good job telling this troubling story. Those looking for accurate depictions of Biblical stories should be pleased. I am not a traditional Christian but nothing in this version felt inaccurate or a departure from the Biblical texts.
Nicolas Mouawad plays Abraham and he shows the terrible conflict he is feeling for having been asked by God to kill his only son. Sara Seyed plays Sarah in a convincing performance and Edaan Mosokowitz gives a humble and sweet portrayal of Isaac.
I appreciate His Only Son doesn’t shy away from the troubling aspects of the story including Abraham’s relationship with Hagar and Ishmael (although it makes when he refers to Isaac as his only son a little tough to swallow.)
My only real flaw with the film is the makeup felt excessive. I understand they are nomads but the dirt was so caked on it felt like brown-face in scenes which is unnecessary as they have a POC cast. It was just a little over the top.
Other than that, those looking for a solid adaptation of the Abraham and Isaac story will get it in His Only Son. It’s not a great Biblical epic but it does quite a bit with a small budget. The target audience should be more than satisfied and it certainly captures the faith it would take to be as obedient as Abraham is.
6.5 out of 10
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