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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Very good and very accurate for a screenplay

8/10
Author: chrismcreynolds from United States
14 June 2006

There were not very many errors or even extra-biblical plot elements. I would guess that there are not more than a dozen films that are both widely available and as accurate as this one. Still there were a few odd things that made me wonder...like at the start of the film, Jacob is with "his grandfather"? How can this be? The last time we know for certain that both Isaac and Abraham were alive together was earlier in Genesis when Eliezer returns from finding a wide for Isaac.

Abraham must have died somewhere around the time either just before or just after the twins (Jacob and Esau) were born. In the film, Isaac and Abraham actually die within the same year, or possibly Isaac dies first! Well, that is trivial but my point and my concern is that when a film is as accurate as this it can lead some to learn incorrectly if they assume everything is accurate.

The things I like about this may also seem trivial, but they are plentiful and continue throughout the film. When Jacob has to flee to Laban's village, it takes several days. There was an interesting thing they added to the film that actually may be a logical addition from the story that we are not told. When Jacob leaves for Laban's, the Bible does tell us that Isaac sends him to take a wife. We are not told about a dowry and this is a very interesting mystery. Why? Now only is this a very important custom, but we also know that Abraham and Isaac were very very wealthy. None of the films I have seen even begin to show how much so. When Abraham went on an urgent mission to save Lot (before Sodom was destroyed) he had over 300 men with him that were on his payroll. That many people can watch over HUGE herds but even if they only had 10 animals to watch over per man, this is 3000 head of various animals. Heck, even if he hired a man for EACH ANIMAL, he still has a herd of 300. That is not super rich but certainly not poor. There is no way that anyone would expect to take a wife without a dowry unless his family was very very poor! Yet we have no idea why Jacob arrives without a dowry.

The film postulates that he did have a dowry but that he lost it on the way. This occurs when Jacob sees a man tracking him and fears either his brother or an assassin on his brother's behalf (it is a brother in-law of Esau) and Jacob hurries up a hill with his donkey holding him back. The dowry is packed on the donkey and falls off the hill down to where the assassin is chasing, who after all was most interested in killing him to steal the dowry. This made a lot of sense because I can't figure out any other reason why Jacob would show up without a dowry, knowing his sole purpose was to take a wife and the only other factor was yes, the timing was more urgent because of the fight with Esau.

Another thing I appreciated was a scene soon after he loses the dowry. In the Bible, there is a dream Jacob has about the ladder (known as "Jacob's ladder", and it is symbolic for Christ as the bridge that joins Heaven and earth). The digital effects that were used to depict this though not especially fancy, I thought they were just right in that they were beautiful without being too fancy or "showy" the way so many effects people in modern film seem to over-do their scenes at times. This was a beautiful shimmering golden ladder that came down to the stone lined path that Jacob was following until he laid down to sleep that evening.

The rest of the film was done just as well in following the Bible closer than most screenplays manage, even with a topic as important as the Bible. All of the actors handled several complex situations just right. I don't think I could improve on the screenplay without making it far more complicated so obviously that is unfair of me to expect anything better. The pace even seemed roughly the same as in the Bible in that they glossed over sections we don't know as much about and expanded really only when the detail was available with the only exception as I indicated (the dowry).

The only other way for me to rate this film higher would be for them to somehow make it more interesting, but them that is hypocrisy for me to ask for authenticity and entertainment! The story is what it is. I am rating it an outright 8 as a film and a 10 for a Biblical adaptation. I feel that the production values (the lighting, balance, score etc. things that are normally ignored by most unless they are annoyed by it) were also just right. I just realized that I saw a pack of I think 6 Bible film adaptations and they were all really excellent. It contained all of the best adaptations together, except for "Jesus of Nazareth" (which I have on VHS and is worth buying on its own). The 6-pack includes the story of Saul and David (either 2 separate films by era or probably originally a mini-series), I think it does contain the classic film from the '50s, "The 10 Commandments" (some consider it the best Bible adaptation of all but I think several from this 6-pack are better) and if I find the site I will post comments again. It looks really worth owning.

I don't want to set anyone's expectations too high.. As I have said, this is not the most interesting story to some people but if you go in to it with that in mind I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Solid and Austere

7/10
Author: Marcin Kukuczka from Cieszyn, Poland
15 August 2013

Along with its obvious echoes of many biblical films, JACOB by Peter Hall, in accordance with the spirit of its two predecessors in the 1990s international productions, takes on an austere form. Simultanously, it can boast emotional resonance of a biblical story, its characters bring to mind people of our times with their desires, their fears, their constant quests for better world, their doubts blending with confidence. Meanwhile, JACOB is far from the mode of spectacular Cecil B DeMille who used the biblical source as a clever conceit to frame his plot and grandeur of spectacle but a faithful adaptation of the Bible with... surprisingly...only few liberties taken. Therefore, being a heartfelt and accurate adaptation, it is a pleasant Bible lesson on screen for young and elderly viewers alike.

Yes, it is the film which, actually, depicts the life of Jacob, also called Israel (the one who fought with God and won) in a very linear but convincing manner skipping the spirit of preaching but, rather, adapting the spirit of identification with the viewer. Among a lot of merits of the film, one could name a few like great locations that evoke the Biblical atmosphere of the story, the music score as an effect of useful collaboration of wonderful Ennio Morricone and Monsignor Marco Frisina (the mainstays of these films), clever script somehow adapted to the needs of modern audiences (lacking the pompous, unrealistic utterances). To that point, however, many of the Biblical films may be likened. But the depiction of many important moments from the life of our protagonist...indeed, the protagonist who makes the whole film and the story vibrant and realistic, corresponds vitally to modern times.

Jacob, portrayed memorably in the revelatory performance by Mathew Modine, is a character who undergoes development. More to say, he is a wayfarer no less than Abraham, no less than Moses, a typical Biblical hero who starts from nothing and has to rely on God, has to place all his trust in the supreme power of his everlasting presence, ever-present company and support. In a beautiful scene that has, in a way, become a symbol of Jacob's life, he sees the ladder to paradise (famous Jacob's ladder used in many contexts, including tourism in Wales) and sets on a journey unknown, a journey that requires confidence and purity of heart. Quite soon, as he leaves or rather flees from his home, having actually cheated his brother Esau played by another milestone actor, Sean Bean), he is showed to lose everything and arrive at his uncle Laban's (Giancarlo Giannini) with a stick as a wanderer of the desert. There, he has to win his respect and aims at being granted one of his daughters for a wife. Laban has two daughters but Jacob is particularly taken with pretty Rachel (Lara Flynn Boyle), falls in love with her girlish charm. One cannot go without the other, though... No wonder our protagonist will have famous 12 sons. There, a love story begins, love that will need lots of sacrifices... Played emotionally by Lara Flynn Boyle, Rachel is a manifestation or rather resemblance of highly positive women from the Bible. Just to spoil one thing, she gives birth to two of Jacob's most beloved boys: Joseph and Benjamin. Long is their way but, as it usually happens when a human being trusts in God, all must end well.

The emotional resonance of the entire story and the dramatic tensions are brilliantly intensified by their variety displayed simultaneously within the story and by the performers, all those versatile, sometimes contrasting feelings that are not vague nor dated whatsoever for us today: jealousy, fear, favoritism, disappointment, loyalty, deception, idolatry, patience, faithfulness, exploitation, hatred, reconciliation, punishment and redemption (one could name endlessly). All of them somehow blend in a unique story. The supporting cast give fine performances from Sean Bean as Jacob's brother Esau (he is unforgettable in the famous biblical moment of being granted pottage in exchange of giving up the right of inheritance as the first born) to Irene Papas as his mother, Rebekkah. A note must be made of Joss Ackland as old Isaac, the father of Jacob who gives him the blessing that, initially, Esau had deserved. That is actually the moment which makes the two brothers enemies, symbolic 'successors' of Caine and Abel. Not entirely, though. A chance for forgiveness will be granted to them.

There are some funny touches of the script, too. For instance, when Jacob comes to Laban with no dowry, he presents himself as a man having been robbed. Mr Giannini says a hilarious utterance: "We live in lawless times" (consider the fact the story takes place almost 4,000 years ago). Other moments of relief from the learned and serious source are the scenes of Jacob and Rachel flirting, one could say, like many today's teenagers.

An interesting drama highly recommended! A humane story! The Bible being read by means of modern technology and powerful visuals! There is some slight piece of Jacob within many of us. In all this distance of time, solid and austere in its communication. 7/10

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Lara Flynn Boyle was notable,for me at least,in this movie

7/10
Author: Cristi_Ciopron from CGSM, Soseaua Nationala 49
27 July 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Reading many reviews by a fellow IMDb writer that prefers the sword and sandals movies and the antiquity/Middle Ages epics (so many sub-genres that in fact are substantially different and only randomly brought together by a common label,in the lack of a real common denominator),I remembered this small and decent TV feature that I have seen almost 14 yrs. ago on a videocassettes.

Other epic/biopics /antiquity renderings seen in the same period were "Moses the Lawgiver" (1974),Joseph (1995) (TV) by Roger Young -- modest and unassuming TV productions that meant to instruct and to relax .If there was any creation in them,it was performances--wise (e.g. Ben Kingsley and Martin Landau in the star--studded Joseph (1995) (TV),or Burt Lancaster,Anthony Quayle and Irene Papas in Gianfranco De Bosio's "Moses the Lawgiver" ,1974).They pretty much delineate a class of films, a TV genre--not epics, not adventure films,but honest straight decent productions,sometimes with a surprising cast.

They are conceived rather as small relaxing films, without ambitions or pretensions.Taken as such,they're fun to watch.

They are not very colorful, exotic, neither mystical—rather standard family TV.One can find pleasing things in them;I hope I have pointed to some. Modest and instructive, educative, they do not resemble nor the big—budgeted spectacular lavish Hollywoodian blockbusters (or the Italian ones, assembled at the beginning of that national school of cinema …),nor the cruel violent brutal SALAMMBO style (in terms of _sapidity), nor the properly speaking religious movies (i.e., those made by Dreyer, Bresson, Gibson, Mrs. Cavani, etc.). Their aim is chiefly educative; they narrate as movie Biblical events.

Jacob (1994) (TV) was the one that stood out, for me at least;I liked it the best.

I have seen it during a time when I was willing to watch any movie with LF Boyle. She and Drew B. and Shannon T. and Lysette A. and Tanya R. were my goddesses. To them I owe much of my knowledge of the '90s B cinema.

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A Theme On Deception

10/10
Author: Desertman84 from United States
25 September 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The biblical story of Jacob explored in this TV movie.It features Matthew Modine as the titular religious figure,together with Lara Flynn Boyle as his love Rachel; and Irene Pappas as Rebekah.

In one of the greatest love stories of the Bible,it starts when Esau sells his birthright to his twin brother Jacob for a bowl of pottage and then gets deceived out of his father's blessing by his mother Rebekah. Later,Jacob battles his devious father-in-law, his brother and even himself to forge his destiny as founder of the 12 tribes of Israel.

This is a TV movie's main theme is about deception as Jacob later gets punished for it by being tricked into marrying the wrong woman after he himself tricked his father,Isaac into giving the blessing to him which rightfully belongs to his brother.It was a good film wherein Modine was alright as Jacob.

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Heartfelt and engaging

6/10
Author: Leofwine_draca from United Kingdom
4 February 2012

The story of Jacob was one I knew nothing about before I sat down to watch this TV movie, which may be why I found it so engaging to watch. The hour and a half running time flies past as we follow a story involving pride, betrayal and eventual redemption.

JACOB works because it's all about the characters and the emotion. The whole gamut of the human experience is explored here - love, death, pain, suffering, respect - against a canvas of people who aren't merely vessels for story elements but who seem to be alive whether they're on the screen or off it.

And what a cast! Matthew Modine, who I've never liked before, is unrecognisable and all heart as Jacob. Sean Bean is excellent, if seldom used, as his brother Esau. Then we get the supporting players: elder veterans (Joss Ackland, Irene Papas, Giancarlo Giannini) mixed with the then-popular (Lara Flynn Boyle) and the future famous (Christoph Waltz). Their talents help to make this a compelling Biblical adaptation.

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An excellent depiction of the changed conniver

Author: (daviddaphneredding@att.net) from United States
29 August 2011

Of the few movies I've seen about different Old Testament heroes, I do believe this is my favorite. Morocco looked much like Canaan, Matthew Modine did an excellent turn as the deceiver and conniver Jacob, Sean Bean was excellent as the bitter brother Esau, and Lara Flynn Boyle was a very drawing Rachel. I, a minister, have read the Genesis account of Jacob's life many times, and I was very pleased with the way it was dramatized in this TV movie. I was impressed with the visual effects, especially with the dream Jacob experienced when he saw the ladder go up to Heaven. Additionally, I was taken with the dramatic scene of Jacob fighting with the angel when his thigh was painfully dislocated. When I considered all this movie entailed, i have a positive feeling about it. It was truly an excellent bible drama

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

response to #1

7/10
Author: zspira98 from United States
1 January 2011

In response to #1, who didn't understand how Jacob could be with his grandfather: Jacob (Yaakov) and Esav were 15 when Abraham died. The reason Jacob was making lentil soup was because lentils as well as other round type foods are the traditional foods Jews eat upon returning from burying an immediate family member.

The time line is as follows: Abraham lived 175 years and was 100 when Issac was born. Isaac lived 185 years and was 60 when Yaakov and Esav were born. This would make Abraham 160 when his grandchildren were born and 15 when he died.

As for the "dowry," that was taken from him by Elifaz the son of Esav as he was sent to kill Yaakov. The problem Elifaz had was that he used to study with Yaakov and as such was looking for a way not to actually "kill" his uncle while at the same time listen to his father. The way around that was to take all of Yaakov's possessions and according to the Talmud, a destitute person is considered dead, thus he "honored" his father.

You were correct that the "accuracy" to the Torah was quite good. I would not go ahead and compare the Torah story of Yaakov to anything else you did as there can be NO comparison.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A nice biblical film

Author: jovy-thomas from India
26 November 2006

It was nice to see the things visually which we read in bible about Jacob. The film focuses on Jacob's hardships in life, even if he gained his father's blessings.

Jacob deceived his father saying he is Esau...through this film another thing is made clear...he too got deceived by his father-in-law as payback.I didn't noticed that fact before....

I liked the way in which Leah was portrayed in the film.The girl's feelings are shown carefully in it. Also Rachel's heart is broken on learning about her father's cunning nature.In pain, she tells the family that Jacob's God will punish you for this.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

a beautiful love story

9/10
Author: obstacle-ena from United Kingdom
3 June 2007

i found Jacob to be intriguing and a great biblical story of love, first i am not that familiar with most bible story's probably because the religious folk only tell us what they deem most significant IE moses ,jesus etc i had never heard the more personal side of his life and am glad i got to watch this.

however i think Jacob's story should be as told as other more well known biblical figures as it allows us to hear story's other than the thou shall and thou shalt not and all other story's parent's tell there children to frighten them. if you are interested in the bible i would highly recommend you watch this and the cast give a emotional and convincing performance. a beautiful if not tragic love story.

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4 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Not exactly a fun movie

Author: Erin (rosettarosetta) from Indiana
25 September 2003

I had to watch 'Jacob' for my freshmen religion class. While it is interesting enough, I don't think anyone would find it a 'fun' movie. I think the movie requires that you have some sort of religious background. The story of Jacob and Esau is interesting, but I don't think it translates well into film. I'll give it a B-.

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