By Chris Karenbauer
Finding a good Christian film is hard to come by. Usually, the budgets are low, the acting is mediocre at best and the story’s plot falls flat. But in its three seasons, “The Chosen” has proven that low-budget Christian films can create an interesting story with talented acting.
Just as the stories of seasons 1 and 2 lead to major turning points in Jesus’ ministry – the woman at the well and the sermon on the mount respectively – the events in season 3 lead up to the feeding of the 5,000 and Jesus walking on the water.
Other major events include the healing of the bleeding woman, whom they call Veronica, and raising Jairus’s daughter from the dead. Jesus also sends his apostles on their two-by-two missions where they prepare the way for Jesus’ later ministry and perform miracles.
However, while the apostles are gone on their mission, Eden, Simon’s wife, gets pregnant but loses the baby. She becomes burdened with grief and frustration with Simon’s absence. After telling Simon what happened, Simon distances himself from the group and his family, seeking comfort by hanging around with Gauis.
Meanwhile, the Decapolis, a city where Andrew and Philip visit during their mission, erupts in violence with Jews and Gentiles pitted against each other. Jesus and the apostles go to quell the violence, and he preaches for two days.
The main storyline with Jesus is interesting as his fame spreads across Israel and even in Gentile territory. The Gentiles are drawn to Jesus’ teachings that the kingdom of heaven is for all who believe in him. Meanwhile, the Jews reject those teachings and cling strongly to the Torah.
But powerful Gentile leaders are attracted to Jesus’ teachings, specifically his miracles. Gaius is a prime example of this. He tells Simon of his servant boy who is dying, and doctors cannot do anything to help him. Other Gentile leaders include Joanna, Herod’s wife, who secretly sends funds to the apostles and helps Andrew sneak into John the Baptizer’s prison. Even the Gentiles who meet Jesus in the Decapolis begin to see his power.
“The Chosen” has always played with my emotions with moving scenes of hopelessness turned into hope through Jesus’ compassion and miracles. Season 3 is no exception with the healing of Veronica and Jairus’s daughter. But the music adds depth to each scene, especially with the scenes showing Simon’s frustrations. The music when Jesus was walking on water highlights Simon’s anger and utter hopelessness, but as Jesus comforts Simon, the music changes to a slower beat symbolizing the storm receding in Simon’s heart. Composer Matthew Nelson did not need to go so hard.
The actors in “The Chosen” have always impressed me. They’re not big names in Hollywood, but they are some of the best I’ve seen on screen. Jonathan Roumie has always done a fantastic job portraying Jesus. While past actors make Jesus seem stiff and humorless, Roumie gives Jesus more personality, giving him a witty and playful side. We even see a glimpse of Jesus and the apostles playing chicken when they’re supposed to wash in the sea for touching an unclean woman. Although Roumie is a great actor, Shahar Isaac steals the show as Simon Peter. Isaac captures Simon’s heartache and frustration so well. There are moments when Simon isn’t the focus of the scene, but the anger on his face still draws the viewer’s attention to him. Not only does a good actor need to memorize their lines, but they also need to capture the audience with their body language, and Isaac wins the prize in that category.
Dallas Jenkins, the creator of “The Chosen,” has done a good job of building up to the final scenes of episode 8. I love how the storm the apostles get caught in is an allegory to Simon’s heartache. Jesus beckons Simon to walk on the water and holds him up when he sinks. In the same way, Jesus will call us into the storm, but he will hold us up through it all.
I give The Chosen a 10/10.
The Chosen season 3 is available on YouTube, Amazon Prime and The Chosen app.
Chris Karenbauer is a senior Journalism major and the Editor-in-Chief for Cedars. She enjoys reading and writing, hanging out with friends and listening to music.
Photos courtesy of Angel Studios
1 Reply to "“The Chosen” season 3 explores grief and loss through its compelling storytelling"
Mark February 19, 2023 (1:59 pm)
As someone who met Jesus as Lord in the Jesus movement of the 70s, I have seldom seen Jesus portrayed like the God I embraced all those years ago. This series captures the God/Man I met and love.