The Nativity Story - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Nativity Story Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ December 30, 2010
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.
Movie Monster
Super Reviewer
½ November 30, 2010
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."
Super Reviewer
January 3, 2007
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.
Super Reviewer
November 20, 2007
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.
Super Reviewer
½ April 8, 2007
Beautiful Bible film of Jesus' parents on their incredible journey of hope and discovery. This is my first time of Bible story about Mary and Joseph before giving their son born. Director Catherine Hardwicke makes a wonderful bibical story against a realistic and detailed recreation of village life of the era.
God blesses you.
Super Reviewer
½ December 26, 2014
A faithful adaption of the biblical account of Jesus Christ's birth, The Nativity Story is a powerful telling of this classic tale. Director Catherine Hardwicke does a remarkable job at creating a visual style that feels authentic to the time period; with detailed costumes and sets designs. Additionally, Keisha Castle-Hughes gives an impressive performance as Mary that's subtle yet conveys volumes through looks and movements. Also, the script is quite good, with a strong focus on characters. A well-crafted film that honors the true meaning of Christmas, The Nativity Story is emotionally compelling and spiritually uplifting.
Super Reviewer
November 10, 2006
Like a big ol' Christmas card, just as pretty and shallow. Kinda predictable, though...
Super Reviewer
½ December 25, 2009
I thought it was pretty good. Well acted, not really 100% accurate, but still a nice family film to celebrate Christmas.
Super Reviewer
½ March 15, 2009
A so so portrayal of Mary and Joseph with good cinematography and decent acting.
Super Reviewer
½ April 15, 2007
With but a few exceptions, The Nativity Story from director Catherine Hardwicke and writer Mike Rich, is an accurate depiction of the events surrounding the birth of Christ, as recorded in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Keisha Castle-Hughes and Oscar Isaac are respectful in their roles as Mary and Joseph, Ciarán Hinds is menacing as the ruthless King Herod with a touch of levity and wonder provided in the portrayal of the three magi. Additionally, the excellent cinematography, costuming and sets give a very professional look to the overall production.
Super Reviewer
½ May 14, 2007
Knew the ending...he died.
Super Reviewer
½ May 5, 2007
Ok, first of all, I do not believe anything like this ever happened. It is ridiculous. Besides that, it's a horrible films on every level. The acting, the writing, etc.
April 8, 2016
The Nativity Story puts a human spin on the Divine. The story starts out with Mary, a young girl loved and looked up to by her peers in her small town. Her world is shaken by two events. The first being betrothed by her family to a older man Joseph and then by the pronouncement of her upcoming pregnancy by an Angel. Both aspects correlate quite well with the story as described in the book of Luke in the Scriptures.
What differs is the human struggle Mary and Joseph face as they get ready for the arrival of the Messiah. Joseph feels betrayed by Mary after she returns from a long visit with her family Elizabeth and Zechariah and he sees the she is definitely pregnant. The town begins to shun her and makes her feel like an outcast. Even Joseph has a dream of stoning her to death for her betrayal. Joseph is approached by the Angel and informed that it was all ordained by God.
An decree is issued from Caesar that all heads of households are to return to their country of origin for a census. King Herod finds out about the coming King from a group of traveling wise men from the East, informing the King about the prophecy, he plots to have the child killed.
Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem helps the viewer to see inside the thoughts of a young couple who are ordained by God to help deliver the Savior of the world. Neither feels qualified to take on such a task and even Joseph, in a moment of connection with Mary, wonders "If I will be able to teach him anything."
The arrival of Jesus comes and the wonder and amazement of the new birth brings hope from the lonely, outcast shepherd to the wise men. A beautiful picture of the arrival of the Savior is the climactic centerpiece of everyone's journey. A very emotional, stirring hope is born and the realization that something special has occurred is realized by all.
While the acting is not all that special, the story and humanity side of it put the emotions and thoughts of those who lived during that time on display to make the viewer realize a whole new perspective on what went down leading up to, and including, the birth of Jesus.
February 16, 2010
It wasn't bad, although I was expecting something a lot more glorious. There are some beautiful shots, but a lot of the movie is underwhelming and kind of dull. I liked the casting of relatively unknown actors, but the production was poor. (First and only viewing - 12/4/2015)
November 15, 2015
In this movie there were a lot of humbling moments from the Bible that were portrayed during the birth of Jesus. The Roman Empire were collecting taxes on the lands and had been questioning those who were believed to not have paid them yet. Joseph noticed many Mary at the time of collection where he was afraid she might be one who would be taken away. As he saw her parents holding her, he realized she was being released back to her family and he could not have been more thankful. Mary was greeted by an angel telling her that she would be with child and he would be the Son of God. Mary was scared at first but then learned to trust in the Lord. As she began to get farther into her pregnancy, Joseph and her made their way to Bethlehem. As they were coming up on the town, Mary told Joseph that it was time to conceive the child. As they found shelter in Bethlehem, she conceived Jesus. The Roman Empire heard of the birth and told all of the soldiers to take all males under two and present them to the King. God's voice came to Joseph and told them to flee to Egypt until the time He tells them it's okay to travel once again. Joseph and Mary do not return to Bethlehem, instead they travel to Nazareth in fear of Herod's oldest son. The movie showed many valid consistences of the story of the birth of Christ and what happened leading up to it. In the New Testament gospels were recorded well in this movie with how they portrayed the movie to follow the chronological order of the way the Bible was written. World Religion is seen through this story because it is one of the most important stories of the entire bible, it is showing how the savior of the Christian world came to be here on Earth. Much has been learned from the Nativity Story and without World Religion we wouldn't be able to enlighten other religions and even Christians themselves of the birth of Christ.
November 15, 2015
My first reaction to The Nativity Story was that is was bit of a slow starting; but after a few scenes it got more interesting. The Nativity story is a classic tale that I think everyone knows but this depiction of the story made it a bit more refreshing and it seems more accurate then past movies. One reason is that they did not have a bunch of Caucasians playing the characters. I love how someone who probably doesn't believe that the Angel came to Mary and gave her a magical blessing can get a sense of truth; because it was so believable. Speaking of Mary's blessing; I think the reaction from Joseph in the scene when Mary comes home with a pregnant belly is amazing and the father's was as well. Another reason I feel it is a great representation is because of the scenery. From the dull skies to the sandy hills. This movie is a bit serious as one assumes it to be; being that it is telling the story of Mary. But the wise men brings some comedy here and there. Another great scene is when Mary and Joseph arrive in Bethlehem; they are in Bethlehem because they were ordered to go back by King Herod, so they arrive and the place is filled with guards, thieves, and civilians and it looks chaotic. Despite how it looks now it was meant to be a holy place, so from that I got how corrupted King Herod has mad Bethlehem. Every actor makes the story very believable. We all know how the story ends/ begins from here. So for someone who would like a better and clear understanding this is a great movie to watch.
½ September 1, 2015
Dull and pretty cheap looking for the most part, it isn't a faith based film that tries to hammer it's values on to others like most, but rather tells a story about these two characters that hasn't been discussed before. That's the most this movie has going for itself. Keisha Castle-Hughes and Oscar Isaac are bland and forgettable (mostly because the script doesn't allow two talented people really give a range of emotion).
December 29, 2014
Cannot understand the written critics consensus. "Dull retelling" - so they wanted the story changed - I don't think that's going to happen. Maybe they wanted more violence. "The look and feel of a high-school production" - absurd. The stupidity of critics sometime amaze me.
December 18, 2014
This is a complex story to tell and I think any director would be hard pressed to tell it well. That being said, I think it was fairly well produced and didn't take any major liberties with the plot (like the recent production of Noah). I liked the threads of the Wise Men, and King Herod which were artfully woven through the story. The Wise Men were portrayed in a very human light, and King Herod's paranoia was well portrayed in his suspicion of his own son and desire to not repeat the mistakes of his father. I didn't give it five stars because it lagged in a few places but overall a great watch--especially during Christmas.
December 13, 2014
Taking a time-worn tale and exploring elements previously not touched upon, the Nativity is rich in character and humanity with great direction from Catherine Hardwicke.
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