The Chosen

Discussion in 'Books, movies, links, websites.' started by Inis Eoghain, Mar 3, 2021.

  1. Ananchal

    Ananchal Vigilans

    I liked his story of wanting a Divine Mercy Icon since he was Orthodox but thinking they don’t make it and the next day finding it on his mailbox. I love when God surprises us with gifts :love:
    theflyingnun, AED and Katfalls like this.
  2. BrianK

    BrianK Guest

    I’ve watched the first three episodes of Season 2 on the app on my iPhone X. No problem watching it on a smart phone. (I don’t have a TV.)

    It was simply superb, and episode 2 brought me to tears (again.)

    I can’t recommend it highly enough
    theflyingnun, AED, Katfalls and 2 others like this.
  3. BrianK

    BrianK Guest

    I never thought of a Divine Mercy icon! I just looked it up and sent an inquiry to a friend who writes icons and asked him if he’d be willing to do one.
    theflyingnun, AED and Katfalls like this.
  4. Katfalls

    Katfalls Powers

    I tried to get second episode of season 2 last night, must have been too busy. Am going to try again tonight. It's so well done . . .

    BrianK likes this.
  5. Donna259

    Donna259 Powers

    I love that Jonathan Roumie is such a DM devotee.....his DIVINE MERCY testimony is awesome!
    Te Deum, Sam, AED and 1 other person like this.
  6. BrianK

    BrianK Archangels Staff Member

    Backstories: “The Chosen”
    Brad Miner

    I’m late to this celebration.

    A few years ago, I began receiving email invitations to watch a crowdfunded TV series about Jesus. I ignored them. Then, more recently, friends began to ask me what I thought of the series, and I ignored them too. Finally, I decided to watch an episode or two, although mostly out of a perverse hunger to review it with the gimlet eye I bring to anything overhyped and under-produced.

    Now, two full seasons into watching The Chosen (five more are planned), I happily admit I was wrong not to have begun watching when it was first released. Without a doubt, it’s the best-ever presentation of the life of Our Lord on film.

    I’ve always been especially fond of Franco Zeffirelli’s 1977 miniseries, Jesus of Nazareth, which is both very painterly and very Catholic, features a truly all-star cast, and includes marvelous music by Maurice Jarre.

    The Chosen, on the other hand – which is the brainchild of Dallas Jenkins – features an all-character-actor cast: the kind of actors whose faces you may recognize without knowing their names or remembering what you saw them in. Mr. Jenkins, who directs every episode and participated in writing all of them, threw a wide – you might say Galilean fisherman’s – net in casting his series: a very bold move indeed, given the schedules of working actors. It’s one thing to keep a cast together for one or two seasons. . .but seven?

    My guess is he’ll succeed because one senses a remarkable work ethic in The Chosen’s production. I don’t want to dwell on production though – more important is to describe what makes the film both moving and riveting. But I will mention (in what sounds like one of those “go-into-a-bar” jokes), that a rabbi, a priest, and a minister have acted as consultants on every script, that the filming was done – for season one – in a re-created Capernaum in Texas and – for season two – at a re-creation of Jerusalem in Utah, and that the actors come from a number of different nationalities and faiths.

    And it all comes together beautifully, in fact astonishingly so.

    Without question, the key to any film about the life of Christ is the actor who plays the Lord. When you first see Jonathan Roumie as Jesus, you may be skeptical, but he’ll quickly win you over. The writing and directing help Mr. Roumie seem as he should: human and divine.

    However, the humanity of this Jesus is not austere, as it has been in performances by most other actors who’ve portrayed Christ. It’s not that Mr. Roumie isn’t dignified but that he smiles and laughs and sings and dances – in the way a religious Jew of His time would have. As seen through the eyes of those who follow him, he slowly transitions from a remarkable teacher to the Messiah – in scenes subtle and clever, profound and funny. I am not suggesting The Chosen makes the Son of God a jokester. His humor is uplifting; it causes people to see themselves in a new, profound light.


    Simon (or Peter, as we know he’ll become – played by Shahar Isaac) tells Jesus that the calling of the tax collector Matthew (Paras Patel) is bad idea. Jesus replies: “You thought it was wrong when I called you!” Simon says: “This is different.” Jesus says: “Get used to different,” which is a good guide for watching the series.

    As the poster for season one (above) indicates, the title of the series refers not to the Messiah but to those whom He has called. Accordingly, the actor on the poster is Mr. Isaac. No doubt the script and Mr. Jenkins have instructed and directed each actor to find his or her character’s unique personality, quirks and all. And the quirkiest is Mr. Patel’s Matthew, who (at least so far) clearly suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder.

    There are the historical characters (those whose words and stories are known to us from Scripture), and there are characters created just for The Chosen. All of them have backstories. That’s exposition, a sometimes-necessary technique in drama that often becomes leaden. Not here though. The interactions between the fictional Roman praetor Quintus (Brandon Potter), who “runs” Matthew in both his tax-gathering and intelligence operations; or Thomas (Joey Vahedi) and his fictional girlfriend/business partner Ramah (Yasmine Al-Bustami), who first meet Jesus when they cater a certain wedding in Cana. Marvelous backstories for one and all.

    From the Catholic perspective, there can be no backstory more compelling than the Blessed Virgin’s, played here by Vanessa Benavente. She is very much a Jewish mother, the ima of Jesus, who is always ready to help: famously at Cana, of course, but also in soothing the frazzled nerves of Mary Magdalene (Elizabeth Tabish).

    Miss Tabish has some remarkable scenes involving Nicodemus (Erick Avari), who attempts to exorcise her demons, followed by a meeting between him and the man who succeeded in freeing Mary, in which Jesus explains the paradox of being born again.

    Ms. Tabish has, so far, the most interesting character arc, going from distraught over the stir Jesus is causing, to joyful, to despairing, to more deeply joyful as she comes to realize who Jesus is.

    Accessing the series can be a bit complicated. I was easily able to stream Season 1 from Amazon($22.99), but the only way I found to watch Season 2 was on computer, probably because both my “smart” TVs are actually stupid. But the Angel Studios website has both seasons – for free. So, if you don’t mind watching on a small screen (or if you’re better at getting website content to your television than I am), that’s the way to go.

    Season 3 is in the works, and Mr. Jenkins and Angel Studios could use your help in crowdfunding it – and the projected four to follow.

    So, now you know not to do what I did. Watch it. Now.

    © 2021 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: The Catholic Thingis a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.
  7. miker

    miker Powers

    Thanks for flagging. I just downloaded app and plan to dive into Seasons 1 and 2.
  8. AED

    AED Powers

    I have found each episode profoundly moving. Excellent production values. Excellent acting. I was skeptical at the start but I got caught in it before I realized it. I highly recommend it.
  9. Donna259

    Donna259 Powers

    I can only hope we will see lots of conversions from the Chosen.....
    Michael Pio, Mario, AED and 1 other person like this.
  10. Ananchal

    Ananchal Vigilans

    I enjoy the show very much and now own season 1, season 2 ordered and am eagerly waiting for the hope to be start of season 3 in September. Dallas Jenkins is not only the director but principal writer for the show. If you have not seen the “prequel” The Shepherd (Christmas story) it’s on YouTube and a must see. While I enjoy the show immensely there at times a more Christian slant on faith than Catholic but I still watch nonetheless! It’s great to turn on a show that is well produced, well acted and not in the least “cheesy” or low budget looking!

    While I love Matthew’s portrayal, Andrew is now becoming a close second. Of course I like how everyone is bringing a new look to their “character”

    AED, Michael Pio and Mario like this.
  11. Mario

    Mario Powers

    The character I most enjoyed was (is) Nicodemus. The tug of his heart between the cost of discipleship and the yearning of his heart was exceedingly well done. I could be wrong; I believe it was episode 4 in Season 1.
  12. BrianK

    BrianK Archangels Staff Member

    Michael Pio likes this.
  13. Katfalls

    Katfalls Powers

    I am so impressed with The Chosen. I didn't watch it at first, I brushed it off. Then I started and couldn't stop. I have several people watching it now. I have picked up my bible and am reading Matthew intensely. When I first started watching I mentioned it to one of my sisters and admitted that if you had asked me to write down the names of the 12 Apostles I wouldn't have been able to do it. And I am a cradle Catholic! Well, I know all of them now!!! I have our Parish Priest watching it and he is letting us show it starting in Sept. We will do one episode at a time with a discussion after each one. The women's club is going to furnish pop and popcorn . . .I am so looking forward to Season Three.
  14. AED

    AED Powers

    Agree! He is so believable and so moving. His wife is believable too.
    Sean Dowling likes this.
  15. AED

    AED Powers

    What a great idea!
  16. Donna259

    Donna259 Powers

    I think Dallas' choices in actors for each part is really spot on! And Matthew, being on the Autism spectrum is quite a leap! Yet somehow, it works. Why wouldn't his disciples be afflicted by the things we see daily in human beings? I just love this show and the humanity it brings to each character in the bible.....
  17. AED

    AED Powers

    Me too Donna.
    Donna259 likes this.
  18. miker

    miker Powers

    I’m so grateful this series was flagged here on forum! I basically binged watch two seasons- it completely captivated me. The most powerful scene for me was Mary Magdalen asking Jesus for forgiveness after she comes back from her fall. To me it was all about the sacrament of confession… here she was so distraught and remorseful - afraid to face Jesus thinking she was unworthy. And He forgives and embraces her as she sobs. Wow. This is exactly what happens every time we confess… we are speaking to a priest but it is Persona Christi - Christ Himself. And he does for us what was portrayed in this scene. Not trying to sound judgmental here, but how can so few take advantage of this tremendous opportunity- really a gift? So blessed that we have opportunity as Catholics for this sacrament!

    I am looking forward to Season 3!
  19. Mario

    Mario Powers

    My pastor, who has been my confessor is being transferred on August 14th.:(:censored:
    Sam likes this.
  20. BrianK

    BrianK Archangels Staff Member

    Can’t “Like” that Terry. A good confessor is hard to find. How far away is he being transferred? My current spiritual director / confessor is three hours away so I mostly go locally now.
    Ananchal and AED like this.

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