The last time I went to a movie theater to see anything was back in 2004 for The Passion Of The Christ, which I felt was the most inspiring movie I had seen to date in the after-effect it had on me. It deepened my faith and pushed past the point of no return ---no return to agnosticism, no sustained return to ways of the flesh (I'm not perfect and do slip at times, but have a great impetus to leave sin behind me), and no return to endless grudge-holding for the transgressions of others.
I think it had to be the effect of observing the true harshness of the agony Jesus endured for our sake that got to me. With all the horrific and unjust punishment He received at the hands of the Romans after being turned against by His own people, with his closest apostle turning his back on Him by denying Him three times, and while his human form was going into shock from blood-loss, exhaustion, and mutilation, He still managed to forgive his tormentors. And before I saw this played out on screen, I thought I would never be able to forgive people in my own life. But the inspiration took hold and eventually I did; and I did it to a long list of people from my past. Once I was a slave, but I am a slave no longer. Thank God.
Each Good Friday I sit and watch it all played out again, thanks to Mel Gibson and to several good actors and actresses. The story is timeless and now a tradition in my life.
Mel Gibson said in an interview that the painting to the left inspired his choice of Maia Morgenstern to play Mary, Mother of Christ. You can see why in her final scene after Jesus is lowered from the cross.
Have a meaningful Good Friday and a great Easter!