Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Nativity Story (2006)

The Nativity Story (2006) is a lovely visual adaptation of the Biblical account of Christ's birth and although it does slip up in a couple places overall it is very nicely done. I'm writing this review on my second viewing of this film and I have enjoyed it quite a lot both times I've seen it. It of course in no way replaces scripture but it does help to give food for thought by showing what the events may have looked like. This is a nice film to view at Christmas time and helps me focus my mind and heart on the birth of my Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.

Story: Powerful, timeless and visually magnificent, The Nativity Story is "a beautiful telling of one of the world's most familiar stories". 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" is a family feature that will be cherished for years to come.

Costumes: Show the contrast between the hard working folks like Mary and Joseph and the rich ruling folks like King Herod and the Magi. 

Music: Combines traditional carols with music that fits the actions of each scene. Just a nice soundtrack to listen to!

Inappropriate Content: There is no language or sexual content in this film but there are some scary scenes and thematic elements. Shows some scarier scenes such as soldiers killing toddler boys under Herod's order, Roman soldiers collecting people and animals as payment for taxes. Elisabeth giving birth to John the Baptist is shown briefly and the ceremony of his circumcision is also shown from a distance. Crucifixion of Jewish zealots are shown. Mary is also shown giving birth to Jesus and Joseph helping her. Nothing horrible, this film is rated PG but would be appropriate for most ages.

Biblical Accuracy: Sets the story of Christ's birth in it's historical content, Israel under Roman rule. Does combine events from the accounts in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Does put some emphasis on Mary's life but I do appreciate that it shows her as a sinful human chosen by God. Kind of shortens some of the accounts but does a fairly good job staying true to the scriptures. But there was no a choir of angels announcing the birth to the shepherds and the wisemen are incorrectly shown arriving at the time of Christ's birth instead of two years after, as the scriptures say. The wisemen decide on their own not to go back to King Herod instead of seeing it in a dream. Joseph is told in a dream to leave Bethlehem for Egypt but it is very shortly after Jesus is born instead of two years after as the gospel of Matthew says. Film does have some characters jumping to conclusions about the birth of Christ, things they probably wouldn't have known yet, but it is neat to hear those connections that we know now because we have the complete scriptures.

Character Portrayals:

  • Mary - Has a quiet, thoughtful and gentle spirit but is still portrayed as a sinful human who also needs to trust Christ as her savior.  
  • Joseph - Portrayed as an extremely kind and honorable man who loves Mary greatly. His great disappointment, confusion and anger when he finds out Mary is with child was very convincing. I like how it shows him sacrificing for his wife and even the donkey on their journey to Bethlehem.
  • Mary's Parents - Kind and try to be understanding but have a difficult time accepting the Lord working in Mary and Joseph's lives.
  • King Herod - Cruel and cunning man who craves power. His paranoia and menace are just creepy!
  • Gabriel - Mysterious but not too terrify, he appears three times in the story. Nice that he is portrayed as looking ethnically the same as those he is appearing too only with a glow about him.
  • Three Wisemen - Quirky and add some humor to the story as they journey from Persia to Bethlehem. They are placed coming sooner than they should but they are shown having great faith which is interesting.
  • Zachariah & Elisabeth - Elisabeth is portrayed as a quite understanding and inspiring woman, a good mentor for Mary. Zachariah is an interesting character and it was neat when he got his voice back. 

Do you have any other favorite film versions of the birth of Christ?

1 comment:

Olivia said...

Aaaaahhhhhh!!! You reviewed this!!! :D

I LURVE this movie. Just gahh. One of the only things I didn't like about it was the portrayal of Gabriel. I mean…there's a bird…and then he's there…and the actor isn't the greatest…but anyway, overall it's one of my very favorite Christmas movies :) While You Were Sleeping might tie with it, but…GAH I LOVE THIS MOVIE.

Great review!

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