The Nativity Story
Directed by Catherine Hardwicke, starring Keisha Castle-Hughes, Shohreh Aghdashloo and Oscar Isaac
*Summary taken from the back of the movie
It was the cruelest of times. Under Herod's torturous reign, families struggled to survive, and yet, in the midst of utter turmoil, a young woman's faith was put to the test. Join Mary and Joseph on an incredible journey of hope and discovery. Epic in its scope, yet intimate in its portrayal of this historical family, this "wonderful film" (Bill Zwecker, Chicago Sun Times), is "a family feature that will be cherished for years to come" (Greg Russell, WMYD-TV, Detroit).
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this movie because of how realistic it was. Despite the fact that we're told time and again that Jesus was born in a stable (some also say it was a cave that was converted into a stable), we still see a picture in our minds of Mary and Joseph smiling down on the Baby in a glow of heavenly splendor. Well . . . it wasn't exactly like that. And I think we also forget how very shameful it was to have a child out of wedlock in those times. A woman could be stoned in the streets for such a thing! The Nativity Story really brought to life the birth of the Son of God and how very humble and still beautiful it was.
My only complaint is how Mary seemed unwilling and reluctant to be wed to Joseph. The details about their engagement are not clear in the Bible, but I always liked to think that they did love each other.
Pros: For a modern-day movie, this film did a remarkable job of keeping the content Biblically sound. They didn't try to brush over it or cheapen it in any way. The actors also did excellently in their respective roles, in my humble opinion. The music adds a good touch, and the story is portrayed very well.
Cons: Since we're talking about Herod's reign, there were definitely some violent scenes. Quick shots are shown of bloody, murdered men hanging from trees, and you hear the screams of women as their sons are murdered (thankfully, no graphics are shown here). After Mary is discovered to be with child, her father asks her, "Was it one of Herod's soldiers?"
Mary: "There is a will for this child greater than my fear of what they may do."
Mary: "People will not look at you the same. They will not look at us the same."
Joseph: "You are my wife. I am your husband. That is all anyone need know."
Balthasar: "If I am correct . . . and I usually am . . ."
Mary: ". . . Do you ever wonder when we'll know?"
Joseph: "Know what?"
Mary: "When he is more than just a child. Will it be something he says? A look in his eyes?"
Joseph: "I wonder if I will even be able to teach him anything."
Melchior: "How many days have you come with us on this journey?"
Gaspar: "One hundred and four."
Melchior: "And how many days have you complained about it?"
Gaspar: "One hundred and five."
[Melchior looks at him confused]
Gaspar: ". . . I am counting tomorrow."
Mary: [about the child, Jesus] He is for all mankind.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
I recommend this film for ages 12+, due to the violence and other mature themes