HIS ONLY SON
Running Time – 1:41
Genre – Drama, Historical, Faith
Rating – PG-13 (for thematic content and some violence)
Theatrical Release – Friday, March 31, 2023
HIS ONLY SON is an awesome new movie coming to theaters this Easter season! You know it will be good because it was produced by Angel Studios which brought us THE CHOSEN, the hit multi-season series about the life of Christ. HIS ONLY SON has already made history as the first-ever crowdfunded film to have a nationwide theatrical release!
HIS ONLY SON is the first feature-length film chronicling one of the most controversial moments in the Old Testament—when the Lord God gave Abraham the ultimate test by commanding him to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, on the mountain of Moriah. Answering age-old questions as to why God would require such a sacrifice, HIS ONLY SON profoundly explores mankind’s relationship to God and encourages viewers to turn inward and ask: Can your faith still stand when you are asked to give everything?
The movie stars Lebanese film and TV actor Nicolas Mouawad (Abraham), Sara Seyed (Sarah), Edaan Moskowitz (Isaac), Scot Cooper (The Centurian), Luis Fernandez-Gil (Eliezer), and Daniel da Silva (The Lord). It was written, directed, and edited by David Helling. As a U.S. Marine deployed to the Iraq desert, David spent hours reading the Bible — sparking a sincere faith and a love for Scripture.
Since then, Helling’s life’s desire and mission has been to bring “Scripture’s Truth from the page to the screen.” HIS ONLY SON is his first full-length film… and it’s a masterpiece! Seriously, the quality is right up there with The Passion of the Christ! The acting is great, the story is awesome, the costumes look historically accurate, and the scenery is beautiful. (It was filmed in the high desert of California.) Yet he made this movie on a super low budget of only $250,000. (In Hollywood terms, a low budget movie is anything under $2 million!)
After being called on by the Lord to sacrifice his son on Mount Moriah, Abraham’s faith is tested on his three-day journey to do the unthinkable. While traveling to the place of the sacrifice, alongside Isaac and two servants, Abraham is flooded with vivid memories from the years he and Sarah spent longing for the son they were promised by God—the son he must now lay upon the altar. “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).
The Old Testament account of God’s test of Abraham and Isaac appears in Genesis 22: 1-19. After waiting 25 years for his promised son, Abraham was told by God, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”
Abraham obeyed and took Isaac, two servants, and a donkey and set off on the 50-mile journey. When they arrived at God’s chosen location, Abraham ordered the servants to wait with the donkey while he and Isaac went up the mountain. He told the men, “We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
Isaac asked his father where the lamb was for the sacrifice, and Abraham answered that the Lord would provide the lamb. Saddened and confused, Abraham bound Isaac with ropes and placed him on the stone altar. Just as Abraham raised the knife to slay his son, the angel of the Lord called out to Abraham to stop and not harm the boy. The angel said he knew that Abraham feared the Lord because he had not withheld his only son.
When Abraham looked up, he saw a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. He sacrificed the animal provided by God, instead of his son. This incident foreshadows God’s sacrifice of His only son, Jesus Christ, on the cross at Calvary, for the sins of the world. God provided a substitute for Isaac in the same way he provided Christ as our substitute through His sacrificial death. God’s great love for us required of Himself what He did not require of Abraham.
Technically, Isaac was not Abraham’s only son, since he had another son first with Hagar the maid. But Isaac was the only one son with him at the time. In the previous chapter of Genesis 21:9-12, Ishmael had already been cast out. Plus, Isaac was the one and only rightful heir who God had promised to Abraham.
I must admit, I always found this Bible story to be disturbing, and wondered why God would ask Abraham to do such a thing. I eagerly watched HIS ONLY SON hoping it would provide more understanding. It definitely did!
HIS ONLY SON is a brooding film full of tension from the very first scene. A terrible burden is carried throughout the entire film by Abraham, and Abraham alone. He had to travel many miles with his companions, keeping his deadly secret to himself. He kept asking God why he had to sacrifice his son Isaac. Hadn’t God promised that through Isaac he would have millions of descendants?
In the movie’s flashbacks, Abraham’s wife Sarah is constantly complaining and nagging him about this, that, and every other thing. She reminds me of the Bible verse, “A contentious wife is like water continually going drip-drip-drip” (Proverbs 27:15). She can’t have her own children so she keeps telling her husband to sleep with Hagar the maid in her place. Sarah finally catches him at a weak moment and he wants to appease his wife so he does just that – and then afterwards she denounces him for doing so! This brings to mind Proverbs 12:4, “a wife who brings shame on her husband is like a rottenness in his bones.”
Poor Abraham, he keeps thinking back on these things during his journey. You know how sometimes when you’re trying to sleep at night, you’re haunted by events from your past? Abraham’s journey to Mount Moriah is like an act of penitence. Although he was not a righteous man, Abraham had strong faith in God, who credits it to him as righteousness. This is a blessed way for a man to be, that his Judge will call him not guilty even though he is, and give him Heaven when he deserves Hell.
Abraham made the conscious decision to trust in God no matter what. Sarah is the complete opposite. Of course, we don’t know if she was actually like that in real life. But the movie does a great job of showing the difference between a person of weak faith and a person of strong faith. Even so, God didn’t hold Sarah’s impatience against her and eventually gave Sarah and Abraham a son named Isaac. When Sarah finally got her wish, she was content and loved her only son more than anything. That made it even harder on Abraham who knew what he had to do.
Incidentally, in the movie Sarah has indigenous-style tattoos on her forehead and chin, which I found distracting but I would like to know the meaning behind them. It’s said that Sarah (formerly Sarai) began her life in the pagan world of Ur, in the land of the Chaldees, so maybe it was the fashion in that time and place?
Likewise, we don’t know exactly what transpired on Abraham’s three-day journey. But the events in the movie seem entirely plausible, representing danger and temptation for the pilgrims. Once scene reminded me of Vanity Fair in Pilgrim’s Progress. Abraham and his group came across a roadside tent with a pimp enticing them to enter and partake in anything they desired. Yet another test of Abraham’s faith.
Even though Abraham didn’t understand why God wanted him to sacrifice Isaac at Moriah, he remained steadfast to his mission. He wrestled with his natural feelings and defeated them, and obeyed God. This put him in the bloodline of God’s own son, Jesus Christ. God counted Abraham’s faithfulness for righteousness.
HIS ONLY SON is a movie you don’t want to miss! Especially if you love The Chosen, you’re going to absolutely love HIS ONLY SON! Like The Chosen series, this movie really brings the Bible to life.
And if, like me, you’ve always been bothered by the story of Abraham and Isaac in the Bible, HIS ONLY SON will give you a whole new perspective of how and why this event took place. It lets you get inside the head of Abraham on his journey to Mount Moriah. It shows that by trial the character of a Christian is formed. Each part of his character is put to the test.
The story of Abraham and Isaac also points to Jesus and God’s plan of salvation for mankind, which makes it a perfect Easter movie. What Abraham went through and how God asked him to sacrifice Isaac, and what we celebrate on Easter with Jesus’ sacrifice for us, is such a powerful parallel. If you linger after the credits, you will even have the opportunity to receive a gospel message. Bring your family and friends with you to see this wonderful film! It’s one that everyone can draw inspiration from.
Buy tickets today to see HIS ONLY SON in theaters this Easter!
Disclosure: Many thanks to Angel Studios for providing a sample of the product for this review. Opinions are 100% my own.