Nativity Story

8 ratings (8 Epinions reviews)
Epinions Product Rating: Very Good
5 stars
1
4 stars
3
3 stars
4
2 stars
1 star
Share This!
  Ask friends for feedback

Good Low Budget Retelling of the Christmas Story

Dec 9, 2006 (Updated Mar 23, 2007)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Keisha Castle-Hughes and Oscar Isaac as Mary and Joseph

Cons:Budget

The Bottom Line: Not perfect, but a good film to make you reflect on what the first Christmas was really like.


This movie retells a story familiar through film, stage, and tradition here in America, the story of the first Christmas.

In the village of Nazareth, the young woman Mary (Keisha Castle-Hughes) is a daughter in a struggling family. They barely make enough to eat and pay the taxes when the Roman soldiers come through town. That's why when Joseph the carpenter (Oscar Isaac) proposes a marriage with Mary, her father quickly accepts. While she is not happy with the arranged marriage, her life gets much more complicated when the Angel Gabriel (Alexander Siddig) appears and tells her she will bear the Messiah.

Meanwhile, three Magi are studying the night sky. As they see three stars coming together, they conclude that prophecy is being fulfilled and a great king is being born. They set out to find this child. And King Herod (Ciaran Hinds) continues his paranoia over his thrown. The same prophecies worry him. Is there a new threat to his throne?

When a movie tells a familiar story, it faces an uphill battle. It must find a way to draw the viewer into the events even though they know the outcome. This movie almost succeeded for me. I was pulled in most of the time watching these characters from the Biblical story brought to life. The friends I saw it with loved it and were deeply moved by it. At times, however, I found the low budget a bit of a distraction.

The producers of the film try to present the story with as little flash as possible. Since the story is set 2000 years ago, it mostly works. I did spot the occasional matte painting in the background, but was willing to forgive this "low tech" approach. What did bother me were scenes at the end that needed extras. When Mary and Joseph arrive in Bethlehem, the town looks more like a ghost town then a village with no room for them to stay. Gabriel appears solo to the shepherds. I was looking forward to seeing if the chorus of angels sang or spoke since this is an often messed up part of the Biblical tale. (Luke 2 says the angels spoke.)

There was much to enjoy about the movie, however. The costumes and sets were wonderful. I am no historical scholar, but everything looked accurate to me. Also accurate was the depiction of the times in which the story takes place. As modern Christians, we often forget the harsh treatment from the Romans. Mary faces possible stoning for becoming pregnant before she is married. And their friends and neighbors ostracize both her and Joseph.

The performances are also great. I knew two of the actors from other things (Alexander Siddig from Deep Space 9 and Shohreh Aghdashloo from 24) yet I recognized neither and was able to accept them as their Biblical characters. Herod is menacing with a touch of mental illness thrown in. The three Magi are lots of fun and provide some light moments with their scenes. Absolutely perfect are Keisha Castle-Hughes and Oscar Isaac as Mary and Joseph. They are likable, have good chemistry, and do a great job showing their characters' struggles.

The ending of the movie is very moving as the shepherds and Magi arrive to pay tribute to Jesus. While I agree this probably isn't Biblical, the timeline isn't exactly clear from the two accounts in Matthew and Luke. Still, it makes for a better movie, so I am more then willing to forgive this bit of artistic license.

A bigger budget certainly could have made this a better movie. Still, it is good because it shows the human elements and consequences we in America tend to gloss over in our annual Christmas celebrations.


Recommend this product? Yes

Read all comments (2)

Share this product review with your friends   
Share This!


Related Deals You Might Like...

Nativity Bible Story Scrolled Wooden Cross Wall Hanging Amish Made

Nativity Bible Story Scrolled Wooden Cross Wall Hanging Amish Made

NATIVITY SCROLLED CROSS This handcrafted wooden CROSS measures 16 1/2 inches tall by 10 1/2 inches across. It is hand cut and ready to hang.Crosses ar...
eBay

$35.00

+$8.49 shipping
Little People Christmas Story Nativity with Lights and Sounds

Little People Christmas Story Nativity with Lights and Sounds

Product Information: Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus share the stable with their animal friends in this Little People re-telling of the Christmas Stor...
Sears Marketplace
Beaded Nativity Story Charm Bracelet Craft Kit - Crafts for Kids & Jewelry Crafts

Beaded Nativity Story Charm Bracelet Craft Kit - Crafts for Kids & Jewelry Crafts

Beaded Nativity Story Charm Bracelet Craft Kit. Each with a printed card that tells a variation of the Nativity story. Includes plastic and metal bead...
Oriental Trading Company

$9.25

+$6.95 shipping
Nativity Rubber Duckies

Nativity Rubber Duckies

A Classic Rubber Duck to Share the Christmas Story The Nativity ducks are a fun way to celebrate the Christmas story. These rubber ducks are dressed a...
CenturyNovelty.com

$6.45

+$5.85 shipping
Little People Nativity Deluxe Christmas Story Ornament

Little People Nativity Deluxe Christmas Story Ornament

This Little People holiday ornament is an adorable keepsake that you and your child will look forward to hanging on your tree year after year. Measuri...
Sears Marketplace
Nativity Rubber Duckies (12 Pack) - Party Supplies

Nativity Rubber Duckies (12 Pack) - Party Supplies

These Nativity Rubber Duckies come together to show us a way the Nativity story could have happened. Measuring 2 inches, these duckies are perfect for...

$6.00

+$5.95 shipping
Plush Nativity 4 Piece Play Set

Plush Nativity 4 Piece Play Set

A long time ago, the Son of God was sent to earth to be born as a tiny baby named Jesus. It was a very exciting time ( Matthew 1:1825; 2:12:23; Luke 2...
Toys R Us

$29.99

+$7.99 shipping
Nativity Story DVD

Nativity Story DVD

Following her depiction of youthful rebellion in the independent features THIRTEEN and LORDS OF DOGTOWN Catherine Hardwicke takes an anomalous detour ...
Family Video

$9.99

+$1.99 shipping
The Nativity Story (dvd, 2007)

The Nativity Story (dvd, 2007)

Following her depiction of youthful rebellion in the independent features THIRTEEN and LORDS OF DOGTOWN, Catherine Hardwicke takes an anomalous detour...
eBay

$5.66

FREE Shipping
Nativity Story, The Dvd

Nativity Story, The Dvd

Following her depiction of youthful rebellion in the independent features THIRTEEN and LORDS OF DOGTOWN, Catherine Hardwicke takes an anomalous detour...
eBay

$11.29

FREE Shipping