But check out that top critics rating for “The Passion of the Christ”: only 37 percent. “The Passion of the Christ” also received no major Oscar nominations. Whereas critics were much more favorable to the other hit films that year relative to the general audience (see Shrek 2 and Spider-Man 2), this was a move in the opposite direction. Dramatically in the opposite direction. And check out that blurb: “The graphic details of Jesus’ torture make the movie tough to sit through and obscure whatever message it is trying to convey.”
I went ahead and looked at what top critics had to say for both movies. The comparison and contrast is intriguing. The snippets from these reviews show the vast majority of publications and critics evolved on the violence issue. Whereas many claimed they objected to “The Passion of the Christ” on the grounds of the violence it portrayed, many critics also claimed that the violent depiction of slavery was what made “12 Years A Slave” such a great film.