I rented this movie because I’m borderline obsessed with Robby Benson. After playing Beast in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (1991), Benson did some truly wonderful voice work for three of my absolute favorite projects in the world: the King’s Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow computer game (1992); The Legend of Prince Valiant TV show (1991-1994); and the light years-ahead-of-its-time Exosquad series (1993-1995). (Not to mention an episode of Batman: The Animated Series [1992-1995] and three episodes of Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa [1992-1994]!) It was like the man’s booking agent knew exactly what I liked as a young teenager 🤣
Anyway, I wanted to see this truly phenomenal voice actor in another one of his early, live-action roles — and The Chosen seemed like a fine flick to take a chance on. (I knew that many people had expected Benson to skyrocket to stardom in the 1980s. But I had only ever seen him in a movie called City Limits , which was so ridiculously bad that it had been featured on an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 [1988-2015]. So I was — and I still am — strangely interested in the man’s extremely unique career.) Although it wasn’t my usual cup of tea, this cute and quirky PG-rated affair was actually quite nice to sit through. Plus, it taught me a bit more about Hasidic Judaism and the bitter infighting among Jewish people that occurred after WWII, when members of the religion were debating the creation of a Jewish state.
Robby Benson and Barry Miller were both very good in their roles, playing two best friends who weather their rocky, formative, pubescent years together despite some rather significant differences in their approaches to spirituality. However, Rod Steiger more or less steals the show with his portrayal of Millers’ father — a strict, orthodox rabbi who throws tons of salt on his son’s bromance. The Chosen was definitely a nice break from my otherwise steady diet of action, sci-fi, and horror flicks — and it only deepened my interest in the enigmatic Robby Benson. But, ultimately, it’s a relatively light, heartwarming family film. And on this weird-ass Web site, such merits only get you so far.
Three pot leafs out of five: