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The Independent Critic

Yoshi Barrigas, Catherine Lidstone, Cameron Arnett, Adam Perez Courtney, Aliyah Camacho, Jonathan Byram, Joshua Triplett, Emilio Palame, Stephen Hailo, Cassie Byram
David Gutel, Emilio Palame
David Gutel, Emilio Palame, Rolland Jacks
97 Mins.
Fathom Events/Pinnacle Peak Pictures

 Movie Review: Forty-Seven Days With Jesus 
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As I was watching Forty-Seven Days With Jesus, I found myself asking the question "What does it mean to live as a Christian?" 

What does it mean to live faithfully? 

Is it as simple as doing good things? Is it simply professing Christianity? Is it success? What is it? 

As I watched Forty-Seven Days With Jesus unfold, I found myself coming closer to an answer. For me, living as a Christian is living in such a way that when people see my life they see Scripture come alive. They see the stories and the teachings and the commandments and the ministry of Jesus come to life. 

That's largely what happens in Forty-Seven Days With Jesus, an Easter tale centered around the Burdon family. Joseph (The Chosen's Yoshi Barrigas) and Juliana (Catherine Lidstone, The Chosen's Mary) are parents to Daniel (Adam Perez Courtney) and Emma (Aliyah Camacho), a seemingly ordinary family of faith though we learn early on that Joseph works a lot and there's a least a wee bit of intra-familial tension. When the Burdons attend a reunion at the home of Joseph's parents, Poppa (Emilio Palame) and Nonna (Norma Maldonado), they begin to realize how how disconnected they've become as a family. Increased marital tension rises to the surface as Joseph works on an unexpected business opportunity that could provide greatly for his family while angsty teenagers and Poppa's health complications add to a sense that all is not well. 

Amidst all of this, the adults decide to share the family tradition of Poppa's beloved "Forty-Seven Days" story with the kids. The story transports us back in time to see the miracle of Jesus' final 47 days on Earth. And yes, these tales are brought vividly to life as lives and families and stories become parallel. Poppa's tale becomes a tour guide of sorts, past and present guiding the Burdons on a journey toward unity and a renewed understanding of what it means to walk in faith. 

Forty-Seven Days With Jesus is a unique experience, part musical and part family drama, containing a memorable portrayal of Jesus' life that reminds us of its applicability in our own daily lives even as our circumstances are vastly different and many of our stressors weren't really even a thought back then. Co-directed by Emilio Palame and David M. Gutel, Forty-Seven Days With Jesus possesses a universality that reminds us of the timeless nature of Biblical teachings and that long ago Bible stories are truly teachings and lessons for us even today. 

The film benefits from its strong ensemble cast. Yoshi Barrigas is the antagonist for much of the film, though it's a role he projects outward in denial and defense. Yet, Barrigas does a nice job of maintaining Joseph's humanity and never letting us forget that while he may have become misdirected it's in a way with which many of us can identify as he seeks to be a good husband, father, and provider. Catherine Lidstone is glorious as Juliana, a devoted wife and mother whose patience is wearing thin and whose leanings toward divorce are realistically portrayed with grit and teeth. Lidstone captures Juliana's loyalty and tenderness yet also her fierce determination to correct a path that has gone astray. 

There are several strong supporting performances including including the young Burdon children along with Tory N. Thompson as Jeremy and Lilli Passero as Claudia. Cameron Arnett, familiar to fans of Courageous, makes a brief but impressive appearance as Pontius Pilate. 

Brian Lang's lensing is impactful throughout and Bradley Dickinson's production design impresses in both past and present settings. Rolland Jacks provides the film's original music and lyrics and Grammy winner Darlene Koldenhoven contributes greatly as music director/producer/vocal arranger. 

An ideal viewing experience for families of faith this Easter season, Forty-Seven Days With Jesus arrives for a limited theatrical release March 11, 12, and 14th in select theaters. For more information, visit the film's website. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic