Not quite a religious film, not quite a coming-of-age story, not quite a kiddie flick, and not quite a supernatural horror movie, Taliesin Jones's identity crisis nonetheless reveals a sweet examination of one child and his thoughts on God.
A Welsh lad, young Taliesin (John-Paul Macleod) suddenly takes an interest in religion when his doddering neighbor and local kook Billy (Ian Bannen, Waking Ned Devine) miraculously heals a stooped woman's back by laying his hands upon her. A skeptical Taliesin is likewise healed of his ugly warts, thanks to Billy's powers (and, therefore, God's powers) -- or did they just go away on their own?
Taliesin becomes instantly smitten with God culture, and soon enough he's trying his hand at faith-healing the kids on the school playground. This leads Taliesin into a bit of trouble with the principal, and it doesn't help bring his estranged parents, Da (Jonathan Pryce) and Mum (Geraldine James), back together, either. Soon enough, Taliesin is questioning faith once again, when the local priest admits he is unable to resurrect the dead Billy, Lazarus-style.
This is all very family-friendly and often heartwarming (provided you can translate the often thick accents), but the issue of faith is not explored very deeply. Taliesin finds faith, loses it, finds it again. He is given a number of lectures about faith being something you give without proof, but at the same time, he gets his proof in the form of Billy's miracles (which, incidentally, aren't all that miraculous). Also, it's only gradually that you realize the subplot between Tal's parents has virtually nothing to do with the core of the film, though Pryce's addition to the cast certainly lends street cred to the production. But with all of that said, Taliesin Jones is one of few wholesome, kid-friendly movies that are appropriate for introducing a young mind to the subject of religion without being heavy-handed, and for that it should be commended.
Oddly enough, Ian Bannen died in a car crash shortly after filming this picture. Try explaining that to your kids after watching the movie.
Aka The Testimony of Taliesin Jones, Small Miracles.
On the road... to find Jesus!