Movie Review: The Passion of the Christ

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Posted Thursday, March 25, 2004 - 12:00am

It never ceases to amaze me the length of adversity and opposition you will encounter when trying to accomplish something you believe is good or might enhance someone's life in some special way. I'm speaking here of Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ."

One of the interests that I had during my spring break was seeing the movie with my mother. Probably like you, we had heard much talk, good and bad, but had to see for ourselves.

My mother and I are both very spiritual, though she is probably more than I. So we packed our pockets with tissues and prepared ourselves for a good compassionate cry.

Yes, the movie was brutal. The violence was evil and repulsive and far more than I really wanted to see. This is what I believe, as the Bible states, what Christ endured for all of us, and all of our sins, heavy handed as it may have been. This is what really happened.

I was touched by the tender scenes of Jesus with his mother; the compassion and love that carried in their eyes, the grief of her beloved son suffer so much, even though she knew this was the very reason for his life. Jesus was made real by scenes as a young man and even as a child.

Rosalinda Celentano could not have portrayed Satan any better. I like Orson Scott Cards description: "his face a mockery of tenderness and concern, surrounded by images of maggots, serpents, decay, and deformity." I, too, cannot imagine a better depiction.

Card sums it up: "Satan in the midst of desolation, defeated, it gives the film meaning and resonance that would not have been there had we seen nothing more than the torture and death of Jesus' body."

The emphasis in this movie was in bringing to view the terrible suffering that Christ endured. Although I think they did this well, I would have preferred instead to focus more on the meaning of it all and the reason behind the brutality, anguish and suffering. There is a mission and a message to all in the life and suffering of Christ and I think we needed to hear it again.

Had this message of love been expressed, my mother and I would certainly have shed more than a few tears in the course of the movie. But as it was, I recoiled at every turn. Tears were replaced by shock and revulsion, a great deal of compassion and hardly a tear was shed.

Don't get me wrong, I was moved by the movie. I had no idea the length of his suffering, but let me also add this; it is not in my view a movie for the kids.

To Mel Gibson I would have to say, my hat comes off to you. You did a tremendous job. You had a dream and believed. You are a doer, and we love doers and you will be remembered for your good deeds. This movie will probably be a tremendous tool in the missionary work for Christ.

And to wrap it up, I would also like to say to those who call this movie antisemitic and un-American, I too, am ashamed of you.

Hurray for the good guys and certainly for the "Passion of Christ!"

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