Megan Doiron walked into the theater around 9 p.m., still in her purple TCU scrubs and with ashes on her forehead. She had come to see Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of The Christ,” and there were still a few red-eyed people from a previous showing leaving the lobby.
“The Passion” opened Ash Wednesday, and crowds of people flocked to theaters that were showing the film. Several students and faculty members were among those who made an effort to see the movie on its opening day.
When asked what her expectations were, Doiron, a 7senior nursing major, said she hoped it would be true to the text. “That’s the big thing — that it’s accurate.”
“Two hours definitely isn’t going to capture everything,” Doiron said. “It can’t. But as long as they did as well as they can as accurately as possible, it makes it viewable so people will understand.”
Some TCU students saw the film earlier. “I think I’m truly shaken to the core,” said Cheryl Bellows, a freshman theater major. “It was truly amazing.”
“I think it would have an impact on everyone unless you go in with the mentality, this is just another movie,” said Sara Rosborough, a freshman ballet major.
Many critics have said the depiction of the beating and crucifying of Jesus are extremely violent, but Brittney Smith, a freshman religion major, said, “I think it had to be to really show what he went through.”
“That was the most powerful, glorious movie I’ve ever seen. I don’t think I realized he went through so much,” Smith said.
Said Rosborough: “Through the entire thing I was thinking, I’m so sorry.”
Bellows said she felt the message of the movie was one of love.
“It was trying to show that we, as God’s creation, are so valuable that he would do anything to bring us back,” she said.
Rosborough said, “I think you almost have to know that it was done for you personally to really understand the movie.”
Brent Plate, a professor for TCU’s religion department, has a special interest in religion and the visual arts and teaches a class about myth and ritual in film during fall semesters. He saw the film Thursday afternoon.
While the movie’s power comes from the story telling, it will be curious to see the overall impact of the film, he said.
“If all it does is raise the attendance of evangelical churches for two months, it wouldn’t be effective,” he said.
“The message is not about church attendance. That’s not what Jesus was about. He was about a social and political message,” Plate said.
Plate said the movie will be successful if it prompts people to reconsider current social and political issues, like capital punishment.