Parents' Guide to

Paul, Apostle of Christ

By Michael Ordona, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Biblical drama has bloody violence, lacks depth.

Movie PG-13 2018 108 minutes
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What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 23 parent reviews

age 12+

Paul Apostle of Christ

The violence at the beginning of the movie, might be a bit too much for children under under 13. However the rest is a beautiful portrayal of Paul's life. My 12 year old daughter watched with me and we both loved it.

This title has:

Great messages
age 13+

Very crafty writing...a movie without God.

This movie is almost anti-Christian. The reason I say this is the Christians in this movie are almost cult like in there teaching and in their ways. There is no Holy Spirit or walk with God, but only head knowledge of "love love love". It was like they were unsaved "christians" that are filling churches today. They have no idea what the power of God is. This movie only appeals to that crowd, affirming their lack of faith. The movie also makes sure to let the audience know that prayer doesn't work, and God doesn't protect. They sent a boy out on a mission full of faith that God would protect, only to have him killed. Sure the persecution happened, but we do not shiver in fear with no hope. "The Holy Spirit shall lead you to all truth." Yet they had to force feed "just love" teaching. This is a modern teaching that is very crafty. Yes Jesus is love but he taught hard truth. He blasted the pharisees for being hypocrites and their teaching keeps people from salvation, over and over for the entire chapter. (matthew 23) Paul of the bible was also bold in teaching and correcting. Now on to the writing of the book of Acts. In the movie it was Luke's idea for Paul to encourage the church with a letter. Paul would randomly say a classic verse throughout the movie, which the average non discerning Christian will eat up. But it comes off like man made one liners. The way the "story" was told to Luke was not even word for word from the bible. Then at the end Luke heard Paul say something great, and he said "I now have an ending!" Like an author that had writers block. This gives the message that the bible is man made and manipulated. "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." 2 Peter 1:21 "All scripture is given by inspiration of God..." 2 Timothy 3:16 I will say God did have a cameo appearance at the conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus. Other than that there was no God in this movie. Like another reviewer pointed out, the one chance to let Paul heal the dying daughter of the jailer, and Paul offers the skills of Luke "the best surgeon in Rome." There is power in salvation and in the life of the true believer. I'm afraid that if this movie doesn't turn people away from Jesus, that it will keep the lost "christian" in his deception. I know from experience from praying multiple times as a child for salvation. I never knew God or his power. I even thought to myself in high school "if Jesus were Lord, wouldn't you feel God?" So many today teach "it's not like that for everyone, it's not about feeeeelings". Really? So you can't feel fruit of the Spirit? The Holy presence, peace love for strangers, patience, conviction unlike ever before salvation? If salvation for you didn't bring you to shame and tears in the Holy presence of God...only to be filled with peace and holiness after crying out for forgiveness? Does God bring peace in an instance when they are down? Do they lose that peace and holy desires, and are filled with flesh when they sin? And also get that peace back in an instance when asking for forgiveness? " For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance"

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (23):
Kids say (1):

By attempting to create a suspenseful plot and in highlighting bloody religious persecution, this Biblical drama pays short shrift to its own subject. Viewers come in late to the story of the titular Paul, Apostle of Christ. He's essentially a supporting character whose previous life as a killer of Christians is conveyed in brief, unenlightening flashbacks. Per the Bible story, he's struck blind by God, then opens his eyes to a new life as a Christian proselyte. The filmmakers don't get into the human reasons for that choice, instead presenting the semi-parallel story of jailer Maritius (Martinez) and the possibility of his own eventual change. Like that wellspring of modern Biblical films, The Passion of the Christ, Paul focuses more on brutality than redemption. It's quite a cinematically accomplished endeavor: The production design, costumes, and cinematography are all beautifully executed. And it boasts a veteran cast, with Martinez compelling as the only character who undergoes anything like a transformation.

The film's faith-based perspective is clear -- "We're the only light left in this city," says a Christian leader; praying to non-Christian gods won't save a child, but a Christian doctor might -- which is fine. The question is, exactly what story does it mean to tell? The best of practical Christian values are celebrated -- charity, nonviolence, compassion -- but the dirty work of coming to those beliefs after being steeped in other methods is glossed over. The deep darkness of Paul's past is only alluded to via bloody memories; what allowed him to behave that way? The Bible's heavy-handed device for changing his heart is hardly the most dramatic storytelling choice. And the ticking clock on the Christians' escape from Rome feels put on, not moored to anything. Paul is a beautifully executed re-imagining of the Bible story, but it lacks real insight into human behavior.

Movie Details

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