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The Nativity Story (2006)



Average Rating: 5.3/10
Reviews Counted: 128
Fresh: 49 | Rotten: 79

The Nativity Story is a dull retelling of a well-worn tale with the look and feel of a high-school production.


Average Rating: 5.6/10
Critic Reviews: 40
Fresh: 20 | Rotten: 20

The Nativity Story is a dull retelling of a well-worn tale with the look and feel of a high-school production.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 82,537

My Rating

Movie Info

"The Nativity Story" portrays a chronicle of the perilous journey of a young couple, Mary and Joseph, who must travel from their home in Nazareth to Bethlehem, Joseph's ancestral home, to register for a census ordered by King Herod. It is a journey of over 100 miles, through treacherous terrain, made much more difficult by the fact that Mary is nine months pregnant


Drama, Faith & Spirituality

Mike Rich

Mar 20, 2007


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All Critics (135) | Top Critics (42) | Fresh (49) | Rotten (79) | DVD (11)

Of course there is nothing inherently wrong with preaching to the converted -- secular Hollywood does it all the time. But I confess I wish the movie had some of the passion of The Passion of the Christ.

July 9, 2007 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

We just haven't had too many films that concentrate on this story.

December 4, 2006 Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

...a filmed Sunday-school lesson that favors a dry, by-the-Book approach over even a suggestion of dramatic interpretation. It's more Christmas pageant than movie.

December 2, 2006 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club
Top Critic IconTop Critic

I have to hand it to Hardwicke: I was a lot less bored by The Nativity Story than I feared I'd be.

December 1, 2006 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's not exactly the dullest story ever told, but it's certainly not the greatest.

December 1, 2006 Full Review Source: USA Today
USA Today
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Nativity Story may prove just idiosyncratic enough to alienate the doctrinaire believers but not quite weird enough to appeal to revisionists, cultists or regular holiday moviegoers.

December 1, 2006 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Bible on the big screen: New take on old tale.

January 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Frankly, anyone could have made this movie in the particular way it's presented.

November 7, 2009 Full Review Source: Window to the Movies
Window to the Movies

A series of tasteful, stultifying reverent postcards, shorn of life, awe, mystery

August 28, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion

If nothing else, it is refreshing to see a Christmas movie that actually has something to do with Christmas!

July 10, 2007 Full Review Source: DVD Review | Comments (2)
DVD Review

A perfectly good cast is undone by a mish-mash of thick accents that are at moments impenetrable.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

In essence, the film is exactly what one comes to expect in the telling of the story. Hardwicke brings absolutely nothing to the table, except for a colorless palette. The actors struggle to invest what are essentially plaster saints with some verve, but

January 11, 2007 Full Review Source: Murphy's Movie Reviews
Murphy's Movie Reviews

Catherine Hardwicke (Lords of Dogtown, Thirteen) may seem like an unusual choice for a Biblical epic, but she proves an inspired choice, choosing to focus on the authenticity of the story, primarily through Mary.

December 30, 2006 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

may well be the greatest story ever told, but it leaves a lot to be desired on a purely cinematic level.

December 17, 2006 Full Review

El Nacimiento es el equivalente cinematográfico de una tarjeta postal de Navidad, o de un inocente pesebre viviente. Es tan prolija como fría e impersonal.

December 13, 2006 Full Review Source: Uruguay Total
Uruguay Total

They've made a lovely, respectful movie... but it's a Biblical snooze.

December 11, 2006 Full Review Source:

For a film about the birth of Jesus, there's nothing particularly joyous or inspiring - just dull, disinteresting details that too strongly disconnect from the human frailty and folly that is hinted at in the story.

December 8, 2006 Full Review

Perhaps this disappointing movie will inspire an up-and-coming filmmaker to sense the true potential of this story, and to deliver the first great film about the nativity.

December 7, 2006
Looking Closer

Just about as perfunctory and old-fashioned as can be.

December 6, 2006 Full Review Source: Bryant Frazer's Deep Focus
Bryant Frazer's Deep Focus

A motion picture depicting the birth of the Savior ought to stir the soul, not just pass time during a frantic holiday season.

December 6, 2006 Full Review Source: Aisle Seat
Aisle Seat

There's a reason why Christmas pageants tend to clock in at about 20 minutes -- a reason that Hardwicke's 100-minute film demonstrates with tedious tenacity.

December 6, 2006 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Hardwicke should have looked to the animated The Prince of Egypt, which made the visual and storytelling possibilities of Bible movies breathtaking. This one's just cashing in on a target audience's debt to its faith.

December 4, 2006 Full Review

Call me a Scrooge, but director Catherine Hardwicke's rendition of Silent Night, Holy Night plays like a dirge.

December 4, 2006 Full Review Source: Boulder Weekly

The faithful will be satisfied (if not exactly inspired)...

December 4, 2006 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

Audience Reviews for The Nativity Story

I wasn't sure what to really expect from this, especially given how I was hesitant to ever see it...and that was before I knew who Catherine Hardwicke was, and way before Twilight.

I finally sat down and watched it (not much better to do when one can't sleep a day or two after Christmas)..truth is...this actually isn't too bad. It's not a great movie, but it's decent enough, and worth a watch once in a while.

Tjis is actually a quite faithful and thoughtful take on the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. It's powerful, and moving, and all of that sentimental stuff, but that doesn'ty take away from the fact that even then, it's got some good camera work (although I wish the film didn't look so washed out), okay performances, and is very accessible. Also, there's a lot of great anthropological/cultural/historical type stuff on display, and not only is it done well, I was surprised it was there (in a good way).

This is no masterpiece, but it does the story justice.
December 30, 2010
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Christmas Move Review Mania
Episode #1: The Nativity Story

It's the last day of November and people around the world are preparing for the Christmas season. I am to and welcome to Christmas Movie Review Mania! I will be writing reviews of Christmas movies up until the big day. This won't be a daily thing. To start off, I will review a film that promotes the true meaning of Christmas: The Nativity Story.

The film is a retelling of Mary and Joseph story. Despite the fact that Mary is a virgin, God makes her the mother of Jesus Christ. Her and her arranged husband, Joseph travel to Bethlehem in order to pay their taxes and give birth to the child as well. Meanwhile, the Wise Men are on their way to meet the child and King Herod make a plan to massacre baby boys and the Son of God himself.

The cinematography is amazing and realistic and Catherine Hardwickes's direction (she also helmed Twilight) is wonderful. The acting is good. I don't see why many critics hated it. Mary's actress added much emotion into her character. Oscar Isaac was awesome as Joseph. The supporting cast delivers as well. A beautiful film that everyone needs to see this season. I mean it!

"I wonder if I will even be able to teach him anything."
November 30, 2010
Movie Monster
Bentley Lyles

Super Reviewer

this film has not been well recieved, but it was powerful. there were a few small inaccuracies as far as consitency to Scripture, but the film was well made and well played. I'll watch this every Christmas from now on.
March 8, 2009
danny d

Super Reviewer

Well, if you have ever sat through a Christmas play, you know the story already. The movie was OK - nothing earth-shattering. I didn't realize the middle east was as dry as this movie portrays it.
November 20, 2007

Super Reviewer

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