December 1, 2006 The Nativity Story
Studio: New Line Cinema Rating: PG for some violent content.
Just in time for the Christmas season, a re-telling of Jesus' birth opens in theaters.
Based on the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, "The Nativity Story" tells about the spiritual, emotional and physical journey of Mary and Joseph.
The movie begins with the slaughter of infants designed to prevent the rise of a Jewish Messiah.
It quickly flashes back to a year earlier, where we learn how Joseph and Mary came together.
Promised to Joseph by her poor family, Mary is told by an an angel she'll give birth to the son of God.
As you can imagine that news doesn't go over well with her family and neighbors who haven't gotten the same divine message.
Joseph is faced with a difficult decision. Abandon Mary or accept the situation. But he soon gets a some help from above in making his decision.
Since so little is shared in the Bible about the birth of Christ "The Nativity Story" takes some liberties. However, they don't feel out of line.
Life two thousand years ago is portrayed pretty much how you would expect it. Imagine a young girl, forbidden from being with a man, showing up pregnant. That would cause a stir.
But the situation is handled realistically and with dignity.
Keisha Castle-Hughes doesn't play Mary as a saint, but as a young girl of faith given the incredible responsibility of raising God's son.
Oscar Isaac's Joseph is a good man. He's not perfect but he does deeply love both God and Mary. His strength shines through in both his decisions and his actions as he and Mary travel across rough terrain to his ancestral home.
There is villainy courtesy of King Herod and even comedy, which is provided by the Three Wise Men from the East.
Director Catherine Hardwicke has created an inspiring film which adds detail and depth to a well-known story.
Christians should enjoy this movie very much, but non-believers will also appreciate the acting, photography and the sense of purpose these young people show while faced with an awesome responsibility. It does move a little slowly at times but not enough to detract from its impact.
On my rating scale, "The Nativity Story" hits a Triple.
HELL'S KITCHEN Tonight at 8:00 PM 8 Chefs Compete
The chefs create ethnic dishes with select ingredients; a team falls behind before dinner service begins