The Last Temptation of Christ

The Last Temptation of Christ Image
Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 53 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: A thought-provoking interpretation of the classic tale of Christ, Temptation explores the idea of Christ as a mere mortal, who, at the threshold of self-sacrifice, is tempted by the desire to continue on with his life.

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. Powerful, haunting, and at times very moving, The Last Temptation of Christ presents its account of the events and conflicts of Christ's life with a depth of dramatized feeling and motivation that renders them freshly compelling.
  2. 100
    Here is a film that engaged me on the subject of Christ's dual nature, that caused me to think about the mystery of a being who could be both God and man. I cannot think of another film on a religious subject that has challenged me more fully. The film has offended those whose ideas about God and man it does not reflect. But then, so did Jesus.
  3. 90
    A film of challenging ideas, and not salacious provocations, The Last Temptation of Christ is a powerful and very modern reinterpretation of Jesus as a man wracked with anguish and doubt concerning his appointed role in life.
  4. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Julie Salamon
    80
    Mr. Scorsese has created a Judea that is dusty and harsh, where visions in the middle of a night seem like. Some of the visual compositions are dizzyingly beautiful; the Crucifixion scene couldn't be more masterful, or heartbreaking. [11Aug 1988, p.1]
  5. Boston Globe
    Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    75
    It could have been shorter, some of its exchanges misfire, but I respect The Last Temptation of Christ, and I'm much more for it than against it. It's the most spiritual biblical movie of our times. [2 Sep 1988, p.25]
  6. 70
    It's a lovely, measured and deeply earnest work. It balances a realistic view of first century Palestine against a sincere consideration of how an ordinary man might learn he is divine.
  7. The efforts to plant this story in a contemporary vernacular are not always successful but the performances are uniformly fine in their adherence to the material, and consistently avoid any vulgarity or showboating.

See all 18 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 11
  2. Negative: 2 out of 11
  1. Jan 10, 2016
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I'm particularly fond of this movie because it tells a story through music & images as it does through dialogue. I also want to highlight the fact that costumes, sets etc are historically believable however all actors conspicuously use their normal accents. At first, it might seem jarring to see Harvey Keitel talking to "Jesus". But I'm glad Scorsese decided not to direct his actors to affect silly "ancient" accents which end up sounding like inexperienced high school actors attempting Shakespeare.
    David Bowie as Pontius Pilate. His understated sense of superiority towards Jesus is perfectly acted. The whole scene fully deserves its iconic status.
    Finally a few words on the controversial nature of this film. As a secularist, I admit that I can happily watch this tale without any concern for anything biblical, orthodoxy or historical. As a cinema person, I can keep it as simple as, "Cool, Willem Dafoe is a bad ass Jesus!"
    Last Temptation is a compelling period piece with almost action flick undertones that oddly creates the charm for me.
    Finally, this is a bold departure from Scorsese's typical fare. I respect him for that.
    Expand
  2. Mar 18, 2014
    10
    Very nice movie. Brilliant acting, narrative and story. Martin Scorcese knows what he does. The best Jesus film ive seen in my opinion. TheVery nice movie. Brilliant acting, narrative and story. Martin Scorcese knows what he does. The best Jesus film ive seen in my opinion. The more I watch Scorceses films, the more I like and respects him. Expand
  3. Apr 12, 2015
    10
    One more thing I want to say about this movie. I felt that the Jews were portrayed positively in this film, compared to other portrayals ofOne more thing I want to say about this movie. I felt that the Jews were portrayed positively in this film, compared to other portrayals of Jesus's life, including the Gospels of Matt, Mark, Luke & John. I respect the Gospels, but I've always noticed a clear bias towards Jews in them (excluding Jesus's followers of course). In this film, when Jesus comes into the temple and challenges the priest in charge, the priest has a reasonable defence for the presence of money changers in the temple and when Jesus yells out "God is not an Israelite!" even his disciples think he went too far and escort him out of the temple. Though I feel Jesus is portrayed as being ultimately right, the Jews are not portrayed as being totally in the wrong. For that matter, neither are the Romans. I like Jesus's conversation with Pontius Pilate (played by David Bowie) which becomes almost a heart to heart debate at one point.

    The film doesn't really have definitive "bad guys" as such. There is "Satan" who tests Jesus in the desert and then while on the cross, but you could argue that "Satan" is testing Jesus on God's behalf as per the Book of Job. You could say the only true villain in this film is the dark side of human nature which Willem Dafoe's Jesus teaches is mankind's biggest enemy.
    Expand
  4. Jun 7, 2013
    8
    Great movie. Probably the best "Jesus film" I've ever seen. Despite it not being totally according to the Gospels, I feel that it, ironically,Great movie. Probably the best "Jesus film" I've ever seen. Despite it not being totally according to the Gospels, I feel that it, ironically, portrays Jesus as the revolutionary and troubled man that he was. (Or I believe him to have been!) Whether or not you are a Christian, you should see this film. When it came out, apparently it was a HUGE controversy as well. That in and of itself makes it sort of a historical experience. My one complaint is that at times the acting felt really off and strained and that was disappointing. Really darkened a lot of scenes. Willem Dafoe pretty much knocks the ball out of the park as Jesus though. Solid stuff. Expand
  5. Mar 1, 2016
    8
    The Last Temptation of Christ is an awkward film for me. I think it is a brilliant depiction of the battle between the spirit and flesh thatThe Last Temptation of Christ is an awkward film for me. I think it is a brilliant depiction of the battle between the spirit and flesh that takes place within believers, as alluded to in the opening quote of the film. Thus, the film is very good. It accomplishes this goal with precise skill thanks to Martin Scorsese's skill as a director and Willem Dafoe as an actor. Together they craft this image of a man tortured by the feeling that God wants something from him that he does not want to give. Rather, he wants to be a normal human man, but eventually, he realizes he truly just wants God. For this, The Last Temptation of Christ is brilliant. Where it becomes awkward for me is that this is a film about Jesus Christ. I do not know if this is a great depiction of Jesus in this sense. All that makes him a great depiction of humanity makes him a bad divine depiction. Thus, I am divided in this sense, much like Jesus is often believed to be. From a technical standpoint though, the portrayal and dedication to such is fantastic. Scorsese crafts this really human Jesus who really has the same temptations as everyone else ("Son of Man") and really makes the character's religious struggles incredibly relatable. While watching the film, I was incredibly mixed as I watched the film, especially with the odd dream sequences for the temptations and odd depictions of the divine, but when I saw what the film was going for at the end, I gained an appreciation for it that lacked while I watched it. Thus, I really liked The Last Temptation of Christ. It is not a film you can watch pieces of. as without the full picture, you will be lost. Scorsese's direction is masterful as always and Willem Dafoe is phenomenal as Jesus. Overall, the film is a brilliant technical work and phenomenal character study. Expand
  6. Dec 2, 2012
    5
    This film was good until Jesus got married then I said screw it. Being a christian and all I have to say I'm really displeased with ScorseseThis film was good until Jesus got married then I said screw it. Being a christian and all I have to say I'm really displeased with Scorsese on this one. Maybe next time. Expand
  7. Jul 17, 2014
    0
    This and 'Gangs of New York' are the two films Scorsese spent the most time preparing for, and they're his worst films by a country mile.This and 'Gangs of New York' are the two films Scorsese spent the most time preparing for, and they're his worst films by a country mile. 'Last Temptation' is one of the worst movies I'll ever see, shot with indescribable ineptitude and adorned with wretchingly awful music, relentlessly laughable acting and, obviously, heaps upon heaps of torture porn'. The last half hour is an incoherent disaster. Bill Murray once said, 'Religion is the worst enemy of mankind.' Yes, and that goes double for film-makers. Expand

See all 11 User Reviews

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