Viewers ‘passionate’ about movie

Published 6:00 am Thursday, February 26, 2004

Eyes filled with tears mixed with those full of excitementWednesday in the lobby outside the auditorium where “The Passion ofthe Christ” opened in Brookhaven.

Movie-goers brushed back tears as several stopped to comment onwhat they had just witnessed.

“It’s the most wonderful movie I’ve ever seen,” said DianneWatson of Brookhaven.

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“Moving,” “powerful,” and “overwhelming” were some of the wordsused to describe the Mel Gibson produced and directed film thatfollows Jesus through his final hours on Earth. Along withflashbacks to the earlier events, such as the Last Supper, the filmdepicts Jesus’ trial, suffering and crucifixion.

“It was like you were actually there,” said Helen Mason ofWesson, her voice trailing off as she started to cry.

Emmitt Wallace, a retired pastor from Brookhaven, said the filmwas very good.

“I hope people stand up and take notice of it,” Wallacesaid.

“The Passion” has attracted some criticism for its violence anda perception that the film may be anti-Semitic. Several localmovie-goers commented on the violence Wednesday.

“I didn’t imagine it would be that brutal.” said Joe Brewer ofBrookhaven.

Pauline King of Franklin County said the movie wasoverwhelming.

“I think it’s a movie you’ll never forget,” she said.

King also mentioned the intense violence of scenes where Romansoldiers scourge Jesus and when He was crucified.

“It’s very violent, but the cross was violent,” King said. “Hecould have gotten off the cross, but He chose not to for oursalvation.”

The film’s first showing was not a sellout Wednesday, but theauditorium was more than half full. Three audience members leftearly, a theater employee said.

While the first audience filed out of the auditorium, FloraHamilton waited to enter.

“I can’t wait to see it,” said Hamilton of Brookhaven.

Hamilton said she and her friend. Wilma Showers. planned to seethe movie and then go to prayer services at Macedonia M.B.Church.

“You read it in the Bible, but it’s different when you actuallysee it,” Hamilton said. “That’s why I’m here.”

After seeing “The Passion,” Hamilton said she was exhausted.

“I can’t express what this movie has done for me,” saidHamilton, calling the movie touching.”I told everyone at my church,’Y’all need to go.'”

Hamilton said she was inspired to pray for patience in dealingwith life’s troubles.

“I think it’s making me a better person,” Hamilton said.

Katie McGlaughn and her daughter Jonna, 10, also caught the 4p.m. showing of the R-rated film Wednesday.

“I started crying 10 minutes into it, and I never quit,” saidMcGlaughn of Franklin County.

Like others who have seen the film, McGlaughn commented on itsviolence.

“As violent as it was, it was the most moving thing I’ve everseen dealing with that episode,” McGlaughn said.

McGlaughn said her daughter is mature for her age. However, shesaid the girl hid her eyes a couple of times during the scourgingscenes and was scared by the images of demons and Satan.

“I did not like that,” Jonna said.

Jonna described the film as weird, definitely powerful andscary. She said it is also a chance for people to learn aboutJesus’ sacrifice and resurrection.

“Now they’ll know what He was going through,” Jonna said.