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Review by MovieGuide.com:
THE NATIVITY STORY has one of the best scripts ever for a biblical story. What makes a movie compelling is a sense of jeopardy, and that sense of jeopardy is present throughout this movie. The dialogue, the plot development, the turning points are refreshingly dramatic, so good in fact that they will elicit tears at certain points. THE NATIVITY STORY is compelling drama that carefully avoids gruesome, graphic violence. Even the slaughtering of the ox at the temple does not show the blade entering the animal, yet it causes the audience to wince.
Catherine Hardwicke’s direction is superb. Joseph and Mary are very human and very Jewish and very much in love. Each character has a terrific character arc. Probably the best part of the movie is the costuming and the settings. Having spent some time in Israel researching other movies, I can attest to the authenticity of even the smallest details of life in Israel in the first century. The crucifixions, the agriculture, the ephods, everything is done exquisitely. There is one moment where Mary has an attitude, but it is very brief and natural. A later statement, however, declares that Mary is always trustworthy, that she keeps her promises and therefore she is honored by God. Her complexities add depth to her character and make the story of Mary and Joseph more profound.
THE NATIVITY STORY is a nearly perfect movie. It should be a movie that every Christian would want to see. It is certainly a movie that every Non-Christian should see. It testifies in every way to Jesus the Messiah and is clearly and consciously evangelistic. Such statements that this baby is the “greatest King”, and “God made flesh”, that the gold is for the King of the world, that the frankincense is for the greatest priest of all, and that the myrrh is to honor the sacrifice, and many, many more pointedly proclaim the story of the Christ and the great news that there is salvation in none other.
(CCC, BBB, V, A) Very strong Christian worldview with very strong moral content; no foul language; light violence with very little blood includes people beaten and whipped by Romans, people on crucifixes by the side of the road, sanitized depictions of the innocents by King Herod, crucifixion of rebels, pushing, and shoving, but nothing exploitive; no sex but hugging, light kissing and two childbirths, nothing shown but very intense; no nudity; passing a cup of wine; and, nothing else objectionable.