Way back in 2004, I think it was, I went to a screening of "The Passion of the Christ" at the beautiful Grove Theater near the beautiful Farmer's Market at 3rd and Fairfax in Los Angeles. I was so moved by that film that I sent the director, Mel Gibson, a letter. Today, I finally received a reply! I present below both my original letter to Mr Gibson, and his thoughtful response:
My letter to Mel Gibson, after seeing “The Passion of the Christ”
I have just seen “The Passion of the Christ,” and I just wanted to thank you so much for making such a positive, uplifting, spiritually enriching movie! It is AWESOME, the most awesome movie ever, even better than “The Matrix,” which is the most awesome movie ever.
I took this woman I know, and I was heartened to see that there were a bunch of families there, with three generations (grandmother, mother, small child). It’s heartening because there’s finally a movie that’s appropriate for the whole family, and even though the woman I know and almost everybody else had to cover their eyes and stuff for like an hour of it, we all knew that we should watch it because it’s the only way we can really understand the sacrifice that JC made for us.
And man, what a sacrifice! Like when that Roman picked up that thing, well first when they were beating him with the bamboo sticks or something, and then they stop, and you’re sorta worried because you think they might stop beating him, and then his sacrifice wouldn’t be any big deal, you know? Like, big deal boo hoo, they hit him with some bamboo, oh that’s too bad, but then that Roman guy picks up that chain whip thing with the hooks, and then he hits the wooden table, sort of subtly telling us what’s going to happen to JC’s meat when he gets whipped with it, and then you SHOW us what happens to his meat, and he’s getting beat like forever, and you see all the blood and skin and stuff coming off and it’s awesome because you know he’s doing it to save us. And you know that he put that guy’s ear back on his head at the beginning, so you know he could really get those other Romans, if he wanted to, but JC doesn’t play that game, as your movie shows.
I also liked how you strove for historical accuracy in making your movie based on a strict literal interpretation of the BIBLE. Like having them all speak in Aramaic and Latin, like they did in real life, and having the devil in it. Also, the part where JC invented the dining room table and chairs, because I didn’t know he invented those things, but I bet he invented lots of things because he’s JC, and you didn’t want to spend too much time on that stuff because your movie is about how he got beat down!
Plus, best of all, I liked that it was super violent, so now everybody is going to try to top you just like they have with “Saving Private Ryan,” another awesome movie with lots of blood that taught me a lot. And the next time anybody says that the movie I’m watching is too violent, or the video game is too violent, I can just say that it has to be that violent in order for me to fully appreciate the sacrifice of the person who’s getting the smackdown laid on him or her or getting shot or whatever. Hey! That’s an awesome idea! You could do a video game about this, where you can play either JC who’s getting beat down (and you could keep hitting the triangle button to turn the other cheek or something and get points for not fighting back), or you could play as the Roman guy, and get points for like when you beat him so bad his ribs poke through his skin like in the movie.
Also, I really liked the dialog, like on the Sermon on the Mount, where JC goes, “If you don’t love your enemies, what good does that do you?” or whatever, it sounds better in Aramaic or Latin whichever JC was speaking, and you really showed it at the end when the Temple is destroyed and that one Jewish guy was all like crying and stuff. Don’t mess with JC!
Anyway, thanks again for your compelling movie which I loved, for all the reasons above stated.
Los Angeles, CA
And Mr Gibson's reply:
Thanks for being such a great fan.