In early June, I had the great pleasure of attending a preview screening of the upcoming blockbuster Ben-Hur. For those of you who may not be familiar with this epic production, here’s an overview:
Ben-Hur is a major Paramount Pictures/MGM motion picture hitting theaters nationwide on August 19, 2016. Bursting with action—including a new chariot race for the ages—and elevated by Christian themes of justice, liberty & radical forgiveness, it tells the classic story of Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston), a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother Messala (Toby Kebbell), an officer in the Roman army. Stripped of his title and separated from his family and the woman he loves (Nazanin Boniadi), Judah is forced into slavery and despair. After years at sea, a breathtaking turn of events sends Judah on an epic journey back to his homeland to seek revenge, where a chance encounter with Jesus of Nazareth (Rodrigo Santoro) transforms his life and leads him to discover grace, mercy and ultimately, redemption. Based on Lew Wallace’s timeless novel, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. Also starring Morgan Freeman in an unforgettable performance.
What Catholic Leaders Are Saying:
After viewing the film and conducting interviews with its producers, director and cast (watch for those moments, coming soon), I was invited to reflect on the film and the potential I believe it holds for Catholic families. The following video combines my remarks with those of other Catholic leaders–Lino Rulli, Mark Hart, and Sr. Rose Pacatte. We each make our own case for why you need to plan to see this movie:
As with any film, Ben-Hur’s opening week is quite important. One way to support faith-friendly movies such as Ben-Hur is to purchase advance tickets. Planning to attend this film with a group from your parish, taking a group of teens or young adults, or planning a “mom’s night out” is a great way to send a signal that we want and will support quality entertainment. Learn more about group tickets at http://sharebenhur.com/tickets-group-sales. At this site, you’ll also find information to help you plan a special premier event. How much fun would it be to plan a “date night” for your parish and head out to the movies on opening night?!
You’ve heard from Sister Rose, Lino, Mark and I, but here’s what some other respected Catholic leaders have to say about Ben-Hur:
“You will be lifted out of your seat, transported into a time and place beyond your expectations, and your heart will be moved by the depth of Jesus’ power to change our lives for the better.” -Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, OFM, Cap., Archdiocese of Boston
“..a very personal and moving tale of the redemptive power of mercy.” Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archdiocese of Washington
“Powerful. Had me on the edge of my seat.!” -Maureen Ferguson, The Catholic Association
“It is gratifying to see a faith-based work with such high production values.” -John Mulderig, Catholic News Service
EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo will be featuring Ben-Hur on “The World Over” in the weeks ahead. Watch for Raymond’s interview with Mark Burnett and RomaDowney on August 11th at 8pm and as well as a behind the scenes making of Ben-Hur on August 18th.
Plan Now to See Ben-Hur!
In the weeks ahead, I’ll be sharing my conversations with Ben-Hur producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett and my chat with the film’s amazing cast members Jack Huston (Judah Ben-Hur), Nazanin Boniadi (Esther) and Toby Kebbell (Messala). I hope these “behind the scenes” moments will encourage you to check out a film that’s certain to make waves this summer!
Copyright 2016 Lisa M. Hendey