Passion of The Christ, The
R
Entertainment: +4
Acceptability: +1

UPDATE: Our reviews are of the original release of The Passion. The Passion Recut has cut some of the more gruesome scenes but not enough of them to warrant a PG-13 rating. That's why it's releasing as "Not rated." Some flashback scenes that did not make it on the original cut will also be included in this release.

Review by Susan Haverty

The Passion of The Christ, directed by Mel Gibson, is an accurate look at the suffering of Jesus Christ. It is the impassioned, raw, authentic expression of Gods purpose, his love and his offering to humankind. Jesus (Jim Caviezel) was not murdered by a hating world; he was tortured, scourged, humiliated, cursed, besieged, tormented, mocked and forsaken, yet He gave himself freely. He could have called 10,000 angels, but instead he committed himself to the Fathers will and laid down his life for a world of lost sinners: His friends and enemies. Judas part in Jesus betrayal was keenly portrayed as he accepted the 30 pieces of silver, brought the soldiers to Jesus and betrayed his friend with a kiss. The disciples torment, guilt and utter anguish after the fact was unmistakable. You arent going to like this movie, but it is a must-see. It will stir you to the very depth of your being. It will awaken in you the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Two issues come into play in the acceptability of this film: the graphic violence and the charge that it is anti-Semitic. Regarding the latter, the film shows that Christs death was brought about, not by a particular sect, but by all people: the soldiers who doggedly maintained their rightness, those in power who do not go beyond political correctness, the bystanders who are influenced by the perceived majority, and even Jesus own followers passiveness illustrated by Peters three-fold denial. No one in The Passion of The Christ comes out blameless - no one but Jesus. Regarding the violence, it is excessive and graphic. The compassion of Jesus mother is shown as she kneels on the stone-paved arena where her son was unmercifully beaten to mop up the mess: blood and pieces of flesh left covering the ground. The crucifixion of Christ was the end of the most cruel, abhorrent atrocity ever the zenith of Christs suffering. It was His ultimate rest as He commended His spirit into the hands of his loving Father God. But, it wasnt the end; it was just the beginning.

Review by Brian Hughes

Seeing The Passion of The Christ will not be your typical dinner and a movie outing. This film is an experience that will push you to the edge of your emotional seat as you are confronted with the events that took place 2,000 years ago. Jesus (Jim Caviezel) is found in the Garden of Gethsemane praying to His heavenly Father, knowing the dreadful task that is before Him. Satan (Rosalinda Celentano) tells Jesus that one man cannot pay for the sins of all mankind, but The Passion of The Christ is an epic portrayal of Christs doing just that through His obedience to His Father, God. The events that lead up to the crucifixion are evidence that mankind is indeed depraved, and Jesus is uniquely qualified to pay for the sins of others. He willingly takes the punishment that He did not deserve in order to offer forgiveness to mankind, which we do not deserve.

Mel Gibson presents an adult depiction of what the Bible says about the events leading up to the crucifixion in The Passion of The Christ. Police brutality is extreme as soldiers appear to take joy in inflicting enormous pain while attempting to demoralize Jesus. This reviewer feels that children of any age should not see this film. The harshness of the crucifixion and the scourging scenes in all of their gruesome reality are too intense for a childs mind to process. Even the children in the film have their eyes turned away by their parents as they witness the torturous events that Christ endures. One scene portrays children as demons who torment Judas Iscariot after his betrayal of Jesus, pushing him to the point of committing suicide. Satans character holds an infant demon-child and smiles as Christ approaches death. Throughout, beautiful flashbacks correlate the life Jesus lived and the message he preached with the pain He willingly suffers, showing His great love.

Review by Greg Shull

From beginning to end, The Passion of The Christ presents the gospel from the symbolic crushing of the serpents head in the Garden of Gethsemane to Jesus (Jim Caviezel) on the cross saying It is accomplished. The film moves back and forth from Jesus torture and crucifixion to flashbacks of His life. As Jesus looks at the feet of those who scourge Him, He remembers washing the feet of His disciples. As people jeer and spit at him, He thinks of the crowds in Jerusalem who welcomed Him with palm branches. As He approaches Golgotha, where the Roman executioners and Jewish religious leaders await Him, He remembers preaching from the mount, Love your enemies. As the disciples watch Jesus on the cross lifted up, they remember His words the night before, There is no greater love than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. And while on the cross, Jesus thinks back to His own words, I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me.

This is no popcorn and coke movie. It opens with Isaiah 53:6, which says, He was wounded for our transgressions x by His wounds we are healed, and then goes on to graphically portray this verse. The movie dialog, spoken in the languages of the time, gives it a realistic, non-Americanized feel. The blood drips, splatters and pours. This is the blood that cleanses us from our iniquities. His body is laid bare, ribboned from head to toe. These are the stripes that heal us. This crucifixion is not G-rated, a reminder that what Christ went through was not either. The most gruesome scene in the movie is the scourging. After being beaten 32 times with rods, Jesus is then lashed with the cat of nine tails, a whip with glass and sharp rocks tied into the ends of the strands of leather. So savagely is he scourged that the legs of the Roman guards who punish him are drenched in Jesus blood. When the movie ended, everyone in the theater remained seated and silent. There was some sobbing.

Preview Reviewer: Susan Haverty, Brian Hughes, Greg Shull
Distributor: Newmarket Films

Summary
Crude Language: Once mild (damn 1)
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: None
Violence: Many times mild (a fight with fists, swords and knives; crowds of people in anarchy; man is spat upon and shoved; people attempt to capture a man trying to get away; man whipped and pushed to the ground); moderate (man hit in the head and face, man has his ear cut off, person is trampled in a crowd, men nailed to crosses and shown hanging, mens arms pulled out of sockets, mens legs broken, dead man pierced with a sword); strong (spikes shown driven into mans hands and feet, man repeatedly and graphically beaten, scourged, whipped, flogged and tortured; man hangs himself; crown of thorns is pressed onto mans head and into his skull; man gets his eyes plucked out by a crow)
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: Few times mild (man in a loincloth; man is presumed naked, but only the back sides of his legs are shown momentarily)
Homosexual Conduct: Few times mild (man sticks out his tongue toward another man in a gesture that could also be seen simply as disrespect, men pucker their lips and get close to the face of another man looking like they are going to kiss him)
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: Few times mild (drinking of wine)
Other: Presence of Satan graphically portrayed as a clearly evil character appears throughout the film; a snake appears from within the robes of Satan and gets its head smashed under the heal of a man; a maggot crawls out of and back into Satans nostril; premonitions by two female characters about a man being in danger; demonic elements involving children; the decomposed carcass of a lamb is shown with an evil-looking smile and flies buzzing around it; displays of mockery and disregard for human decency; mistreatment of men, women and children; concubines are shown in a mans palace but are fully clothed and do not engage in immoral acts
Running Time: 126 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and Adults

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