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.
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
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.
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.
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.