Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 26


Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,543
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Movie Info

This is about two rival English schools vying to outdo each other in the annual Christmas nativity play.


Critic Reviews for Nativity!

All Critics (26) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (12) | Rotten (14)

  • CBeebies if Ronnie Corbett was artistic director; filmmaking by committee, if that committee were made up of the esteemed members of Coventry City Council and chaired by Lenny Henry.

    Nov 27, 2009 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…

    David Jenkins

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Even with an engaging cast of primary school kids practically mugging the camera at every opportunity, this is toe-curling and predictable stuff.

    Nov 27, 2009 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Wendy Ide

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • A pretty shambolic effort, despite its undeniable good-heartedness.

    Nov 27, 2009 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Andrew Pulver

    Top Critic
  • The show is a hymn to starry, happy-shiny fame and the fascinating business of how to make state-educated children feel valued gets lost amid the X Factor mugging. Next!

    Nov 27, 2009 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • A warm, funny and irreverent Christmas movie that ought to become a holiday classic alongside films like 'Elf' and 'A Christmas Story.'

    Dec 14, 2010 | Rating: 8/10 | Full Review…
  • A plucky, well-meant enterprise reliant on its audience's festive goodwill.

    Dec 4, 2009 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Nativity!

  • Dec 31, 2011
    A good and funny British film. A must see for lovers of British comedy but overall it wasn't anything special in terms of story and it did have a lot of continuity issues.
    Sophie B Super Reviewer
  • Dec 04, 2011
    Primary school teacher Paul Maddens (Martin Freeman) is given the unenviable task of directing St Bernadette's school nativity play. To gain a review for the best nativity play in town, he has to beat the local posh school and it's drama teacher, Gordon Shakespeare (Jason Watkins). Unfortunately, Paul decides to make an ill judged boast that Hollywood producers are coming to watch his version of the Nativity - a lie which leads to an increasing avalanche of lies due to his over-excitable classroom assistant, Mr Poppy (Marc Wootton). Whilst Jim Carrey's "A Christmas Carol" was the main Xmas film of 2009, this British comedy was an overlooked gem at the cinema. Martin Freeman plays Maddens in a comically deadpan manner as he plays straight man to Marc Wootton's wonderfully comic creation of Mr Poppy who is basically an over-grown man-child who hasn't grown out of his first childhood and doesn't think of the consequences of his actions. In a film where there's a competition, of sorts, the heroes are only as good as their protagonists and this comes in two areas - Jason Watkins providing a suitably hammy performance in the role of Gordon Shakespeare - a frustrated actor who thinks he's a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company to the point of creating an "edgy" Nativity in the form of "Herod - A Christmas Tale". The other protagonist is Alan Carr in his role of the local theatre critic who rates children's Nativities like the West End or Broadway and eats sandwiches whilst watching the performance. Alongside the main plot is a romantic subplot between Maddens and his former girlfriend who works in Hollywood, Jennifer (Ashley Jensen). The casting surrounding these actors is excellent with actors such as Pam Ferris as the school's head-teacher and Ricky Tomlinson as the town's blunt talking mayor. An element that adds to this film is the non-scripted part of the plot which is mainly performed by the children which helps them be natural alongside their adult co-stars as opposed to over-coached children that you sometimes see in films. Whilst it may not everyone's cup of tea, I can't understand why this film was given a "Rotten" rating by the critics Nativity! is a heart warming film with a message for the Xmas season and is worthy of next year's sequel, Nativity 2: The Second Coming, starring David Tennant, Joanna Page and Marc Wootton.
    Theta S Super Reviewer
  • Oct 24, 2011
    It is shockingly predictable, cheesy and cliched. But somehow this never begins to matter because it doesn't take itself seriously, just bounds along and is brilliantly "christmassy". But seriously, I can't remember ever leaving the cinema feeling as warm and elated. It is magnificently corny, verging on but not quite hitting cringy, but I can't recommend it enough
    Louis R Super Reviewer
  • Mar 17, 2011
    It starts of likeable and good moments of fun, even getting into a guy with big dreams, but settlking for a teaching job, when acting doesnt become him. but come the final act, when in typical hollywood fashion, the school nativity play looks like it has indeed been funded, by a hollywood film, you just want it to end. it seems americans are not the only ones to be sickly like this, apart from that all the way through acting is okay from freeman esprcially. and its not a total waste
    scott g Super Reviewer

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