Roger Ebert on The Passion

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Roger Ebert’s review, posted today, seems as fair and balanced as could be hoped. I liked this comment in particular, “That some Christian churches have historically been guilty of the sin of anti-Semitism is undeniable, but in committing it they violated their own beliefs.”

Ebert gives a strong warning in regards to the depiction of violence, advising that “the film is unsuitable for younger viewers”. If I may just get on my soapbox for a moment, based on my own memories of childhood I really do think that parents need to be careful with children and graphic visual depictions, whether sexual or violent. My wife and I, despite being Tolkien fanatics, were shocked to see the extremely young children brought to see the Lord of the Rings films. My own experience was that before a certain age I had almost no critical filter to distance myself from the images that came at me. Now, when I see a sexual or violent image I am able to take an immediate mental step back and even largely dismiss the image from my mind. Many such images that I was exposed to when young (say, single digits) are still in my mind… They seemed to go straight in. My wife reports that when she was very young she had great difficulty understanding that people she saw die on screen hadn’t really died. I think it would be tragic for a young child to have this film ruined because they are exposed to the film before they are old enough to handle it without being traumatized by the depiction of violence. I think our society makes very young children grow up too fast and adolescence last far too long. I believe in the opposite, protect young children with strong boundaries and have them able to be mature and independent by 16 or 18, (I have seen such things with young adults who were homeschooled).

2:04 pm on February 24, 2004