CHICAGO, February 27, 2004 ( – Besides grossing the most ever for a Wednesday opening at $26,556,573 for the first day ($41,337,889 as of Thursday), Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ has garnered a rave review by the world best known movie critic.  Roger Ebert says of the film in a Chicago Sun Times review, “Is the film ‘good’ or ‘great?’ I imagine each person’s reaction (visceral, theological, artistic) will differ. I was moved by the depth of feeling, by the skill of the actors and technicians, by their desire to see this project through no matter what. To discuss individual performances, such as James Caviezel’s heroic depiction of the ordeal, is almost beside the point. This isn’t a movie about performances, although it has powerful ones, or about technique, although it is awesome, or about cinematography (although Caleb Deschanel paints with an artist’s eye), or music (although John Debney supports the content without distracting from it).”  The review was obviously a challenge for Ebert since the film moved him to re-experience and be enlightened by childhood experiences.  Ebert recounts that as a Catholic altar boy he recalls going through the motions of praying the Stations of the Cross, while encouraged to meditate it was not very deep.  However, he says “What Gibson has provided for me, for the first time in my life, is a visceral idea of what the Passion consisted of.”  Ebert concludes his review: “I myself am no longer religious in the sense that a long-ago altar boy thought he should be, but I can respond to the power of belief whether I agree or not, and when I find it in a film, I must respect it.”  See the full review online at:


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