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The Passion of the Christ
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689 out of 1090 people found the following review useful:

A movie like no others...

10/10
Author: Michael R. from Canada
28 February 2004

The second the movie was over, I was dumbstruck, and I wasn't the only one. When the movie ended I thought there would be a big round of applause but when I turned around I saw that about half the audience was still in their seats. I looked at a couple of people, some were speachless and most were crying. Nonetheless I didn't hear a word. When I thought about it, i realized an applause would have been ridiculous.

When someone asked me how the movie was I was going to say it was amazing, but that wouldn't have done the movie justice. The movie was an extremely moving, emotional experience.

The cast was absolutely flawless, Jim Caviezel gave a powerful performance as Jesus, Maia Morgenstern as Mary brought me to tears, and even though Monica Bellucci spoke only a few lines, her performance and beauty astonished me. The score was incredible. It had a middle-eastern feel to it, and was timeless and beautiful.

Most aspects of the movie were perfect to me. Instead of a squeaky clean version of the life of Jesus it was a realistic and heartbreaking portrayal of his final hours. The Aramaic, Latin and Hebrew languages, and wonderful cinematography made you really feel like you were in first century Jerusalem. The flashbacks truly had an emotional impact on me.

While watching this movie I forgot about everything else in the world. Mel Gibson did an incredible job as a director and he truly was brave for taking on this project despite all the controversy.

As for the two main concerns of most people, the ultra-violence, and the alleged anti-semetism these are my views on the two.

Everything people are saying about the violence is true. It is brutal, gory, and quite possibly the most violent work in cinematic history. This R-Rating is very well justified and an NC-17 would have made sense. If you are the type of person that cannot bear violence, this is definately not the movie for you. Some scenes of torture last about 10 minutes when you feel you've seen enough after 30 seconds. But, the violence I feel was absolutely necessary. The movie is about the suffering/passion of Jesus, and turning the camera away would not have an impact on you. The movie shows what Jesus actually went through for all of mankind's sins (according to Christianity). Mel Gibson did not exagerate the violence or make it look like horror movie or Kill Bill violence. As Jay Leno said on his show the other night, when Jesus was hit it felt like WE were being hit as opposed to other violent movies were you feel like YOU are the one hitting the person. I don't think anyone can say that every single hit upon Jesus didn't affect him/her somehow.

As for the anti-semetism in the movie, I didn't find it was as bad as everyone is making it out to be. The thing that made me see why people were criticizing Mel Gibson for was that instead of spreading the blame somewhat on the Jewish high priests (Sanhedrin) and mostly on Pilate, 99% of the blame was put on the Sanhedrin, which seemed false to me considering that historically it is known that Pilate was a vicious monster, and in the movie he seems like a gentle person and reluctant to crucify Jesus. I simply didn't buy the fact that Pilate would be so nice. The movie can be considered anti-first-century-Romans, and anti-Sanhedrin, but I did not feel the movie was attacking the Jewish religion, or the entire Jewish people. But the movie is not anti-semitic for these reasons: 1. It is made evident that it was Jesus' prophecy and destiny is to die. He could probably have escaped from Gethsemane or even the cross (if he truly had ''powers''). He was born to die, and there is no blame to be placed on anyone. If anything, the Romans of that time are portrayed horribly (though realistically), and they are the ones that made him suffer tremendously before his death. 2. Basically all the ''Good Guys'' in the movie are Jewish. Jesus himself was a Jew, Mary was, The man that helped Jesus carry the cross was Jewish, Veronica the woman that brought Jesus water and wiped his face was, and many Jews were screaming in the crowd against the torture and crucifixion of Jesus. (Personally, I don't know why Pilate was portrayed so nicely. It's not like the Jews had the ultimate power. It was ultimately HIS decision to have Jesus crucified.)

An aspect of the film that intrigued me was the character of Satan, and the demons in the movie. When I first found out Satan was in the movie, I was scared it would be a red man with horns and a pitchfork, but he/she is portrayed subtly. Everything about him/her was very Eerie.

Mel Gibson deserves a lot of respect for making this film. He made the movie the way HE thought it was and though most historians or even religious figures would not agree completely to what happened, it is a general idea as to what those final hours were. When reading the new testament or hearing the story of Jesus, it's hard to understand what it was actually like for Jesus to go through all that pain, and what it was like for Mary to watch her son get tortured and crucified. The movie really put things in perspective for me.

Some people are criticizing him for adding things never written in the gospels such as demons harassing Judas Iscariot, most scenes with Satan, and the torture from Gethsemene to the Jewish court, but he had to fill the blanks in the Gospels with what he thought might have happened.

In conclusion, not everyone will like this movie. Some will love it, and some will hate it. But, I think that if you can endure the extreme violence and torture you should at least see it before you judge it. My opinion: 10/10

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507 out of 850 people found the following review useful:

Film making at its most powerful

Author: ed2707 from England
29 July 2004

It took me a long while to decide whether to see The Passion of the Christ. It had been my intention to since Mel Gibson first announced the project, but endless reports of the film's unflinching brutality made me fear it might be too much to bear. I eventually decided, however, that whether I really wanted to or not, this was a film I needed to see. It took me two viewings to really get a grip on it, so intense were the emotions it provoked in me. Even now, weeks later, re-examining it in detail is still deeply affecting. For those few still unaware, the film details the last twelve hours in the life of Christ. Its dialogue is entirely in Latin and Aramaic, with English subtitles, a remarkably bold decision by Gibson, and one that pays dividends. On one level it unites an international cast, sparing us any clashing accents, and gives the film a greater sense of authenticity. On another, it forced Gibson and his team into a very visual form of storytelling; even amongst the carnage there are shots of aching beauty.

Huge credit must go to the cast for mastering the language, and employing it in such universally excellent performances. As Jesus, James Caviezel has the immense task of embodying the most important figure in human history, and often doing so with little dialogue, and one eye swollen shut. Despite these handicaps Caviezel delivers a performance of great emotional depth, embodying quiet nobility and sacrifice. The performance that really stood out was that of Maia Morgenstern as Mary. The pain she conveys through her large and expressive eyes is heart-breaking, as she is forced to watch her child endure the most unimaginable suffering. Yet throughout the film she maintains an almost luminescent beauty, entirely befitting the mother of God.

One of the themes of the story emphasised by the film is the bond between Jesus and Mary. One flashback, found nowhere in the Bible, details the mundane routine of Jesus being called in from carpentry by His mother to eat. It was an immensely powerful reminder that for all He was the Son of God, Jesus was also the son of an ordinary woman, who He loved as any child loves its mother. It was also from this vein that the most powerful moment of the film sprang. As Jesus carries His cross, Mary begs John to get her closer to Him. She emerges into His path just as He fall under the weight of the cross. She runs to His aid, and as she does so the film cuts between this, and a similar moment when Jesus was a child and fell outside the house. While she could offer him protection then, now she is powerless; she weeps as the guards thrust her roughly away from her son, and so do we.

It is moments such as these that make the film so much more than the orgy of violence its detractors claim. For example, Peter's panicked betrayal, and subsequent horrified realisation of what he has done is handled in such a way as to move one to tears. There is also an immensely poetic moment near the film's end, in which the camera tracks the progress of a single drop of rain from miles above Golgotha, which falls as Jesus breathes His last: a teardrop from Heaven.

As a film, The Passion of the Christ is excellent; as a religious experience it is even better. Gibson has come under attack for focusing merely on Jesus' death, and omitting His message of love - this criticism is both unfair and ill-judged. In fact, he strikes the perfect balance, including flashbacks at pivotal moments of the film to events such as Jesus washing the disciples' feet, the Sermon on the Mount, and the Last Supper. These remain very true to the text, with quotes such as "You are my friends, and the greatest love a man can have for his friends is to give his live for them" (John 15:13) incorporated whole and delivered beautifully.

Even is there were no flashbacks, however, the point of the film would remain, and it is a vitally important one. It serves as a powerful reminder of the reality of what happened: Jesus did not merely die for us, He was killed by us in the most terrible way imaginable. It is something that can easily be lost through over familiarity with the text, and the flowery nature of other representations, but which must not be forgotten.

It has been said that "If Christ be not risen, then our faith is in vain", and the film has also been attacked for devoting just a few minutes to the Resurrection. Such criticism, however, betrays a very narrow minded approach; the manner in which this sequence is filmed conveys the full thematic significance it.

Perhaps the film's greatest impact has been to get me to pick up the Bible again, and do so with a new faith and understanding. And for that Gibson deserves nothing but praise.

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491 out of 878 people found the following review useful:

Misconceptions about the Passion

10/10
Author: jakecamara (jakecamara@hotmail.com) from Providence, RI
10 August 2004

Obviously there are some people who are rather ignorant about the words they use and what the Passion of the Christ actually is supposed to be. The one user who said "There is nothing passionate about this movie" obviously did not research the meaning of the word Passion. The English word has its roots in the Latin passio, which means, simply, "suffering."

A search on "Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary" turns up:

PASSION: \Pas"sion\, v. i. To suffer pain or sorrow; to experience a passion; to be extremely agitated.

People also seem upset that this movie did not portray the times in Jesus' life when he was deep in ministry. The Passion of the Christ is a centuries old tradition. I recently visited Oberammergau, Germany and saw the site of the Passion Play that has been performed every decade since 1634. The Passion Play ONLY portrays the suffering of Christ. It is meant to bring the what Christ did for our sins to the forefront.

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431 out of 760 people found the following review useful:

Fantastic

10/10
Author: Adam Schellenberg (hydrorunner@hotmail.com)
19 February 2004

View from the Second Star: The Passion of the Christ (Adam watched this film at a special preview in January)

It's hard to walk into a picture these days without knowing every detail about the movie. Trailers have shown too much story, reviews have jaded your perspective, or friends have refused to see it - movies get spoiled. Yet, sometimes, knowing the story is a far cry from seeing the event. For many, the story of the crucifixion is something they've grown up with, lived with, as far back as memory serves. I tell you this, no matter what you've heard, no matter what you know - you will be stunned by The Passion of the Christ.

From the opening shot to the falling credits, this film demands full control of ones body and emotion. So visually spectacular and physically gripping, this film had me literally convulsing as I attempted to watch what was onscreen. Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, starring Jim Caviezel, is a retelling of the last hours of Jesus Christ. Believe me when I say that this production is more than a story, more than a movie; this film can only be described as an experience.

This movie is fantastically brutal. From beginning to end, blood drenched flesh is smeared across the screen in a ghastly fashion. Gibson defends his incredibly graphic depiction by noting that the bible states Jesus was beaten beyond recognition. I assure you, beaten beyond recognition hardly describes soft tissue being torn to be the bone as blood drips into puddles on the ground. The violence shown in this movie is unlike other Hollywood violence - it's uncomfortably personal. The scenes are so believable, the violence so real, that the scenes appear to take place in your very presence; imagine before you a man being torn to bloody shreds; your helpless to do anything, you're a spectator - utterly horrific.

As any appreciator of the finer things in film might see, The Passion of the Christ is artistic genius. Mel Gibson stated that his film follows the last 12 hours of Christ in accordance to the gospel, and although biblical scholars have confirmed this to be true, it is also true that a certain artistic license was taken to particular moments in the story. Nothing anti-biblical was added, but inside a sense deep meaning was inserted through symbols and actions not actually recorded in the gospels. This artistry serves to aid the story and engage the audience - artistically and culturally, expect nothing less that a film superbly crafted. Set your expectations high, this one can handle them.

Unless you've been avoiding the media in recent months you've heard accusations of anti-Semitism against this movie: its going to rekindle a hate for Jews, its depicting the Jewish leaders of the day as monsters, and its showing that the Jews were solely responsible for the death of Jesus. I trust that once the movie is seen by the general public all of these statements will fade into the shadows; this movies greatest defense will be itself. It is true that the Jews were involved in the crucifixion of Christ, just as it's said in the bible for nearly two thousand years. Hearing this story doesn't swell up a hatred for the Jewish race, no more than watching Schindlers List makes one hate current day Germans. This film is going to be many things to many people - anti-Semitic is not one of them.

No matter your background, no matter your race, no matter your beliefs on the afterlife, this movie needs to be seen. The art, the culture, and the magnificence - see The Passion of the Christ and you will have seen the fantastic. Ten out of ten.

This has been a critical review by Adam Schellenberg

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191 out of 308 people found the following review useful:

Great visually stunning period piece

9/10
Author: mstomaso from Vulcan
5 September 2005

This film is neither preachy nor pedantic, and was a welcome surprise for me. As a non-Christian who nevertheless respects the historical figure of Jesus Christ and the beauty of his philosophy and teachings, I found The Passion to be a powerful portrayal of much that I think is worthwhile about the Christ story. I know the film has been maligned for anti-semitic content (perhaps because Jews make mistakes in the film and are seen as persecutors instead of victims? - it could have been anybody!), and for various other problems - but let's face it - any movie portraying this subject was bound to face strong reactions. And kudos to Mel Gibson for not shying away from the subject by creating a sterile, gutless, Disney story out of what really was a good example of the everyday horror of life on the fringes of the Roman empire. Gibson invents a new genre with The Passion - that of historical horror.

The performances in this film are inspired. I felt that the film brought out the cowardice of the apostles very forcefully, and the courage and love of the two Maries in Jesus' life was palpable to the very end. The effect of Aramaic and Latin, with the moody soundtrack, was spellbinding. Again kudos to Mel Gibson for his courage and artistic integrity on the decisions involved in these elements of the film.

Final word - this is not a film for the whole family nor is it a feel-good film. Don't see it if you're not willing to confront the worst aspects of human nature up close. And don't go in looking for your own version of the story - it's not your film! This is what Mr. Gibson believes, and it's his own revelation, not necessarily to be shared by all.

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147 out of 238 people found the following review useful:

The film accurately portrays the brutality of the times…

10/10
Author: Righty-Sock (robertfrangie@hotmail.com) from Mexico
30 September 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Gibson's controversial film is about one night different from every other… It is profound, beyond words… It illustrates what supposedly took place…

James Caviezel has little opportunity to show Jesus' spiritual charisma… His deep eyes movingly convey the anguish and pain of a man forced to drag his heavy cross through the narrow streets of Jerusalem to a place outside the city's walls... Caviezel is especially effective in the flashback sequences that show him preaching to his followers, and it's easy enough to wish that Gibson had included more of these precious moments…

Maia Morgenstern's Mary is heartbreaking as the mother of Jesus who recalls a poignant moment from Jesus' childhood… This beautiful Jewish Romanian actress comes across as a woman of incredible courage and caring… She is present at nearly every event after her son's arrest… She has little, if any, dialog… Instead she uses her body language and her eyes to convey her bleeding love at seeing her beloved son in excruciating pain… Her grief-stricken image at the foot of the cross with Jesus' blood on her face made the roughest, most anguished viewing of the whole film…

Monica Bellucci gives a quiet, yet forceful, performance as Mary Magdalene, the ever-grateful woman who is saved from a stoning to death…

Mattia Sbragia is convincing as the hateful, vengeful face, Caiphas, and Rosalinda Celentano puts a frightening depiction of the devil, which tries to sway Jesus from his destiny…

With realistic costumes and makeup, stunning cinematography, Gibson's film embodies the spirit of Baroque art in Italy… Its dramatic images reveal to everyone how much the Romans rule over Palestine was based on brute force alone…

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197 out of 360 people found the following review useful:

Amazing film on multiple levels.

Author: Matthew Krause (matthew-86) from Incommunicado
2 March 2004

Mel Gibson has done the impossible. He has created a tale of the Christ that works on three separate levels.

As a spiritual message, the film is overwhelming, bringing tears of renewal to the believers in the audience. Even if you are not a believer, though, I still think there is something in this for you.

As an historical observation, the film is brilliant, depicting the social and political dynamics of the Romans and Sanhedrin with clarity and accessibility. This is the most believable interpretation of what happened to Christ, and although I knew the story going in, I found myself getting caught in the narrative, hoping someone would realize that this was an innocent man and that the persecution would stop.

Finally, as a work of art, this film is unparalleled. Mel borrows from the works of Caravaggio, Puntarmo, Michelangelo and Leonardo et. al., as well as the Medieval Passion Plays. As one who was made to study this in college, it all came back to me in a graphic context, with production design so amazing that it felt like I was going back in time, that I was seeing Jesus and Pilate and Peter and Mary.

This film will rock your world, and that's an understatement. One of the most beautiful films I have seen.

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47 out of 80 people found the following review useful:

Religious, atheist, agnostic, it doesn't matter

10/10
Author: Dan Grant (dan.grant@bell.ca) from Toronto, Ontario
26 April 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Passion of the Christ is an undeniably moving and emotionally galvanizing experience and will indelibly stay in your conscience long after the credits roll. It is now 3 years later, and I saw the film once in the theaters, and I remember it like I saw it yesterday. And this is coming from someone who still hasn't made up his mind about religion. This is a one of a kind film that will affect you as long as you have a pulse. For those jaded enough to just view the film as anti-Semitic or just plain hooey, then perhaps I will stipulate that you will find something wrong with it. But for anyone who at least has a humanitarian side to them, this movie will get inside you and never leave.

Mel Gibson has lost much of his credibility when he got drunk one night and went off on Jews. This rant painted him as a hypocrite and that is very unfortunate because this film is one that at least has something to say. If nothing else, it shows us that humanity hasn't changed in 2000 years. We are still as violent as we ever were. We still don't value a human life anymore than we did when Jesus ostensibly walked the Earth. Christ apparently died for our sins and if you believe in this, if you accept the fact that Jesus got tortured more than any living thing should be, then you have to understand that this was done so that we could have our sins wiped away when entering the Kingdom. But it was also done, if you believe in Christianity and/or Catholicism, so that we could become better people. Why else would God allow his only begotten son to succumb to such despicable and inhumane treatment? One would hope that it is to better humanity, not make it worse. Although I didn't live in Biblical times, I can only assume that times are not any better now than it was then. Torture is still prevalent in myriad of countries, and even condoned by the U.S president himself...the most powerful man in the world. Famine is at an all time high and while the rich countries like the one I live in do little to help wipe it out, there are starving people even on our street corners. Altruism is a word that most people don't know how to spell let alone practice. Greed is everywhere and the opulence that is provided by the very Earth we live on is being destroyed and pillaged by those that should be thanking their lucky stars that we have this great place to live in.

What does this all mean? Does this have anything to do with the movie? Of course it does. As I said, if anything this film appeals to the humanitarian in all of us. I don't know how I feel about God, Jesus, John 3:16 and The Bible and so on. But even though I am ambivalent to all of this, I still have emotions and I do respect a human life. And if a man, deity or human, was actually treated this way by a society that existed 2000 years ago or 10 days ago, it is bothersome. If there was a man named Jesus Christ that existed and taught us to be altruistic and benevolent and peaceful, he would be disgusted to see how we all turned out. The Passion of the Christ is about that man. It doesn't matter if he was a God, a spirit or the flesh and blood, this is a film about the power belief. But it is also about the power of corruption and corruption of power. And power can be absolutely corrupting and this is what has turned our world into a cesspool of the rich and dangerous. Because when you watch the film, the fear of this man, the fear of what he represented is what scared everyone.

The Passion of the Christ is a masterpiece of film making. I believe it wasn't nominated for anything because the donkeys that run Hollywood are powerfully corrupt as well and there are plenty of powerful figures who just don't agree with the supposed message and supposed anti-semitism. I don't really think Mel cares too much what the rest of Hollywood thinks of him as this film apparently netted him more than 300 million dollars as he funded the film by himself. I say good for him. It's a shame alcohol makes you say such asinine things because Mel damaged his reputation beyond repair when he did so, but that shouldn't take away from the brilliance of this film.

James Caviezel is a miracle as the Christ figure. Speaking in an entirely different language he conveys the passion, the fear, the emotion and the spirit of Jesus Christ. I can't imagine another actor playing this part.

The Passion of the Christ is one of the most moving motion pictures of all time. It brought me to tears. Tears of anger, tears of sorrow and tears for fear. As I said, this is coming from someone who sits on the fence when it comes to religion. If you are a Christian or a practicing Catholic, this film will move you like no other.

10/10 Love it or hate it for what it says, you cannot deny how it will make you feel.

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162 out of 312 people found the following review useful:

Once In A Lifetime

10/10
Author: marcosaguado from Los Angeles, USA
18 March 2004

You may have an experience like this in a movie theater, once in a lifetime. I haven't been able to take those images out of my mind. What an incredible achievement. It works in so many different levels that it would be impossible to list them. It touched me in a way no film has done before. It provoked such degree of hatred around my neck of the woods, that it goes to prove how the devil reacts to holy water. Most people I spoke to in Los Angeles had made up their minds about the film before actually seeing it. What's that all about? At the end of the day Mel Gibson had the last laugh or the right to have it, although I don't believe that he is laughing. He seems to be unafraid, fueled by his faith and convictions, a man of his word. That in itself must confuse the hell out of Hollywood. All religious considerations to one side this is an artistic masterpiece. You may agree or disagree, but why not to make up your own mind?

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88 out of 165 people found the following review useful:

The Good & Bad Of 'The Passion Of The Christ'

7/10
Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
22 April 2007

I can't believe I didn't write a review after seeing this, but I must have incorrectly presumed I did. With so many other reviewers by now, I'll make my points as brief as possible.

GOOD - Kudos for someone finally presenting an accurate account of Christ's sufferings, as gruesome and horrible as they were, although, if you read the Gospel accounts in the Bible, it was even worse than shown on this film. Jesus' face was beaten to a pulp and "unrecognizable" so keep that in mind if you think the film overdid the beatings. However, the overall effect is that there isn't anything sanitized in this film; it's an according-to-the-Book account and after you see this on film, it shakes you up.

I heard that people were so stunned they couldn't speak for about a half hour after coming out of the theaters. I thought that was probably exaggerated, but it wasn't. I felt the same way, just stunned at what I had witnessed. As a Believer, it was something I needed to see to remind me of what this God-in the flesh human voluntarily went through. For non-Believers, scoffers or whatever, I don't know what your reaction was to the film but for me, it was a humbling, sobering experience.

THE BAD - The unrelenting brutality against Jesus the last three-quarters of this film is so bad that, frankly, I would hesitate before ever watching this again. One viewing is enough. I am amazed so many people sat through this, including Christians. I wish director/producer Mel Gibson had shown more of Christ's resurrection instead of centering 99 percent of this movie on his suffering, although I understand Mel's point. However, all of Jesus' claims and sufferings are meaningless without the resurrection, so why not emphasize that instead of just tacking it on for the last minute or two? Just asking.

It's a cliché, but this is a film you won't soon forget, but I would add to that, one you probably won't want to watch multiple times.

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