By Ashley Zartner, 15, Bell HS
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The Passion of the Christ is the controversial film directed by Mel Gibson about the final hours of the life of Jesus Christ involving his arrest, torture and finally, crucifixion.

Before I saw the movie, I knew it was violent and some had accused the film of being prejudiced against Jews, because "it falsely accuses the Jews of killing Jesus," according to one account I read. Jewish leaders were shown urging the governor to crucify Jesus. But the film simply told the story as it is told in the Bible. In the end, Jesus emphasizes forgiveness toward everyone who was responsible for his death.

Sometimes the graphic violence, such as Jesus’s hands being nailed to the cross and his wrist being tied so tightly that it was broken, made me turn from the screen. But this made me realize how much pain Jesus went through. Even though this movie does have a lot of blood, it made me feel every blow and understand Mary’s emotional trauma as she watched her son being bludgeoned.

Another part that was extremely difficult to watch was the crucifixion. When Jesus was being nailed to the cross, a man in front of me in the theater kept wiping his eyes. I have never seen a man cry that way. My friend and I were sobbing. We held each other’s hands and leaned on each other as we watched this scene. After Jesus died on the cross, the screen went black and the theater was silent for 15 seconds.

I recommend this movie, which is rated R, for teens and adults. Although the violence is extremely graphic, you will learn more about Christ’s life and feel as though you’re witnessing the crucifixion in person. It was by far the most powerful and emotion-filled film I have ever seen. The dialogue is in Aramaic, Latin and Hebrew, with subtitles in English, but this adds to your experience of feeling the movie.

Coming out of the theater I felt like I should read the Bible more and go to church more often and pay closer attention. As I walked out I was just yearning to hear someone preach. It made me realize how important my faith is to me.