Although there are many Faith-based movies set around Christmas, films set around Lent tend to be a little grimmer.
During Lent, we make small sacrifices in order to understand what Christ went through in the Desert.
His 40 days and 40 nights are briefly covered in the Bible, with different accounts given by both Matthew and Luke. Many filmmakers have attempted to catalogue this time, fleshing out the temptations laid on by Satan and adding colour to Jesus’ struggle. Easter Week itself has been adapted frequently; with the drama of betrayals and subterfuge, the Easter story is perfectly formed for a dramatic treatment.
Here are the 5 inspirational Easter movies that will get through Lent, just make sure you keep your hands away from the popcorn:
When Martin Scorsese released The Last Temptation back in 1988, he was forced to open the film with a title card stating that the film in no way took inspiration from the Gospels for its interpretation of Jesus. The screenplay for the controversial movie was based on the equally contentious novel of the same name – a story that attempted to depict Jesus as a human character, rather than a perfect being.
The Last Temptation pick up Jesus’ story as a carpenter and follows right through to his death. Because of the no holds barred approach to depicting Jesus as a simple man, those with a rigid view of him may not approve of this film and it certainly isn’t for children.
This is a film that humanises the challenges that Jesus faced and successfully puts his plight into context.
Last Days In The Desert 
An altogether different take on Jesus, Ewan McGregor takes on the mantle from Willem Defoe in this small story that takes place towards the end of Jesus’ time in the desert. Last Days imagines another test, set by Satan, with an ordinary family at the centre of the problem. McGregor’s Jesus is a tired, worn man, reaching the edge of his limits – a new side to the character, yet to be seen.
At just under and hour and a half, this is a film that should surprise and please Christians of an older age.
The story is a simple one, but deftly explores ideas of human conflict with a troubled Jesus Christ as its centre.
The Passion of the Christ 
Mel Gibson is a man constantly dogged by controversy and this movie is no different. Depicting Jesus’ last 12 days before his crucifixion, the movie makes no attempt to avoid the grisly details of the grim trials that he was put through. Some have gone as far to say that Gibson revels in the violence somewhat – a claim that is backed up by the R-Rating given to it by the MPAA.
This is another film that is not suitable for children, the excessive graphic violence can be hard to watch at times which is one of the movie’s strengths. Jim Caviezel’s portrayal of Christ accentuates the grim determination and patience that he must have shown to deal with such overbearing abuse, something that we can all learn from.
The Miracle Maker 
After three relatively adult oriented movies, this is one for all the family. Although most Sunday School teachers will be familiar with this popular stop-motion animated movie, some younger ones might not have had the pleasure of watching it yet. Miracle Maker does a wonderful job of depicting the hardships that Jesus had to face as a younger man, attempting to achieve a similar result as The Last Temptation.
Although the animation might seem a little outdated today, young ones will nevertheless be enthralled by the visuals that this film offers. The characters are all voiced by British actors with a warmth and kindness that makes for a truly wholesome feeling.
The movies in this list might well be fictionalised versions of Jesus’ life but watching them can still bring us closer to God.