Implied Dissent

Thursday, February 26, 2004

As your movie correspondent I feel it is my duty to talk about The Passion. I haven't seen it and I'm not sure that I intend to. I haven't decided yet if I think I am ready to withstand what is, by all accounts, an overwhelming depiction of torture. Today I want to talk about the reactions. Specifically about the reactions to how difficult the movie is to watch. I heard a woman on the radio this morning say "You, know, I wanted to take my daughter to a movie about Jesus but this was too much for her. She was really upset." Turns out the daughter is 8 years old. Lady, don't take your 8 year old to any R rated movie and expect her to (a) understand it, and (b) not be overwhelmed by the adult issues presented. If you want your 8 year old to see a movie about Jesus I'm sure there is something appropriate available at your local video store. The whole thing reminded me of when I went to see American Psycho with some friends in 2000/2001. I thought it was a brilliant movie about the contrast between the internal and external worlds. Their comment "it was too violent, why'd they have to make it so violent?" Now, I can totally understand "It was too violent FOR ME" as a comment, or "I think the violence was gratuitous and obscured the story." Or how about, "I think the movie glamorized violence." But complaining about a movie, called American Psycho, that is Rated R for violence and is about a serial killer is ludicrous and annoying.
So back to The Passion. Like I said, I haven't seen it. I have no idea if it's offensive or antisemitic. I have no idea if it's too violent for me, or if the violence is glorified (I did hear Mel Gibson say that his goal was to find the beauty and lyricism in the violence, which I get as an artist, but think can be horrible from a political/sociological perspective), but I'm pretty sure, having listened to even a smidge of popular press coverage on the movie, that I would never take a child to see and if I even thought I might, I wouldn't take a child to see it without having seen it myself first to judge if I thought she could handle it. AND, if I did take my 8 year old daughter to see it, I sure as hell wouldn't go on the radio and complain about it - take some responsibility people.


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