Ebert and Roeper give “Passion” 2 thumbs up

They both loved it.

“It’s the only religious movie I’ve seen, with the exception of ‘The Gospel According to St. Matthew’ by [Italian director Pier Paolo] Pasolini, that really seems to deal with what actually happened,” said Ebert, who is the Sun-Times film critic.

“This is the most powerful, important and by far the most graphic interpretation of Christ’s final hours ever put on film,” said Roeper, a Sun-Times columnist. “Mel Gibson is a masterful storyteller, and this is the work of his lifetime. You have to admire not just Gibson for his vision and his directing abilities, but Jim Caviezel [as Christ] and the rest of the cast.”

As for the controversy over whether the movie promotes anti-Semitism, Ebert said, “I hope people will see this movie for themselves and then judge. I don’t think the movie is anti-Semitic.”

It will be intriguing to read the reviews as they come out this week (I think it opens nationwide on Wednesday). Meanwhile, it appears most Mormons are going to steer clear of the controversial film.

Many Mormons, who don’t wear or display crosses, will also stay away.

Like other Christians, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that Jesus died to atone for humanity’s sins, but they don’t see it as a single event on the cross. They believe the atonement began in the Garden of Gethsamane, where the New Testament says Jesus’ “sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground,” continued with the Crucifixion and culminated with the empty tomb on Easter morning.

“Because the Protestant world focuses so much on the death of Jesus, we have a tendency to emphasize Christ’s resurrection,” says John Fowles, a New Testament teacher at Logan’s LDS Institute of Religion.

In any event, many Mormons will not see “Passion” because it is R-rated and they believe the LDS Church forbids it.

With all due respect, I am so glad I am not a Mormon. I love coffee, and some of my favorite movies are R-rated.

The Discussion: 12 Comments

I glad I’m not one either. I do find it interesting that they won;t go because of the “R” rating. If they read the same Bible as I do, it’s pretty descriptive reading. Is that “R”? Besides I thing the “R” was for violence. Yes, Jesus death was violent!

February 22, 2004 @ 8:39 pm | Comment

Don’t try to figure out how Mormons rationalize what they can and cannot do. I once worked in an all-Mormon office back in Arizona. Normal techniques of logic and rational thinking won’t help you understand them a bit.

February 22, 2004 @ 9:27 pm | Comment

If you can find this month’s copy of Vanity Fair, Christopher Hitchens blasts the movie in the most well-thought-out review I’ve read so far. I think it’s in the print version only.
He attacks Gibson’s fundamentalism and thinks the results of the movie are going to be regrettable.

February 23, 2004 @ 4:50 am | Comment

Housekeeping note: I think you mean Ebert, not Siskel. Siskel died a few years back.

BTW, I had a good laugh at the “Psychedelic Republicans.” That was hilarious.


February 24, 2004 @ 3:41 pm | Comment

Shit, you are right!! I will repair it now.

February 24, 2004 @ 3:53 pm | Comment

Not all LDS are boycotting the movie. I for one plan to see it and I’m not alone. http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,590044701,00.html

The latest advice from the Prophet doesn’t mention emphasize specific ratings but is that we should enjoy the uplifting and avoid that which would shut out the Spirit of God. I can’t imagine that a movie about Christ’s life which is accurate with respect to the Bible could be one which would shut out His spirit.

February 24, 2004 @ 4:51 pm | Comment

I am Mormon and I plan to see “The Passion”. If you really think you know all Mormons I am afraid that you are sadly mistaken Richard.

February 25, 2004 @ 1:12 pm | Comment

Dave, obviously I don’t know all Mormons. Some that I know are good friends of mine. But I did have some strange experiences working in a nearly all-Mormon office, and even some of the Mormons I know agree that there are aspects to their religion that are difficult even for them to understand, let alone non-Mormons.

February 25, 2004 @ 1:41 pm | Comment

I am a Mormon. i dont understand why everyone is out to critisize us. just like in any religion, not just members of the church of jesus christ of latterday saints, people have their own opinions and levels of standards of what rigtious living is. the mormon church happens to have a higher standard than most religions. every religion, no matter what one you belong to, has wierd and corky aspects to it that are hard to understand if u are not open minded to it. if you focus on the things that arent important, like mormons not drinking coffee, than you tend to lose touch with the spirit of the religion and the things about it that are most important. i just dont understand why so much criticism comes to a church that tries to encouage high moral values, good physical health, getting a good education, and the importance of families. is this such a bad thing? if you have a problem with any religion that encourages those kinds of values than you are the problem with the world today. i plan to see the passion of christ, and so do almost all of my mormon friends. in my opinion, there cant be anything wrong with wanting to see a movie that glorifies christ, because isnt he the one that christians worship? Yes he is, even mormons. no we dont have horns, no we dont practice polygamy. stop bashing other peoples religions. ive been attending the mormon church for 20 years and have never heard a sermon where another religion was being bashed or looked at as a negative thing. yes we have compared doctrines but everyone has thier own interpretation of the scriptures.

March 1, 2004 @ 5:43 pm | Comment

Eric, i won’t bash any religion here. What I can safely say is that I worked in an all-Mormon office for almost two years and it was a very strange experience. These guys were weird, and I am a fairly tolerant person. (Weird, by the way, does not mean “bad” to me.) And I promise, I’m not the only one who’s held similar opinions, from Trey Parker to Matt Groening to many, many others. That doesn’t necessarily make us right, but I’m afraid that right or wrong it’s quite a common perception.

March 1, 2004 @ 6:47 pm | Comment

Richard, I’m sorry that Eric has looked at this site in a negitive manner. From his tipping, he has shown that he has not read this page thrue and desided to protest agenst this page. I have found this page to be a good discution page. Anyway I have come to advertize my site to people and I think I can get a good respons from this page. It is caled inteligents.4t.com At this site, it explanes thet I am bord and would like to do reserch for free just to kill time. I realy don’t cair what I reserch. I just want to do somthing. A am also glad to know that the people you worked with were weird in a good way.
Melvin Cluff

April 14, 2004 @ 9:52 am | Comment

I must say I’ve found this site to lighten my day, and have a few laughs along the way… Everyone is intitled to there own opinon, and goodness knows I’m a LDS Lady. I have lots of those Opinons. I love to see and heard what other people think about all topic’s, that is what makes us all grow in knowledge.. All of you have a wonderful day, week, and Month and year. I’m very open minded about alot of things. Love to hear from you…..

October 18, 2006 @ 2:14 am | Comment

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