The Nativity Story
Betrothed to much-older Joseph (Oscar Isaac), Mary (Keisha Castle-Hughes) must remain a maiden for one year, but she subsequently receives a visit from the angel Gabriel, who tells her of her destiny. When Joseph and now-heavily pregnant Mary journey to Bethlehem for the Roman census, they face a threat from King Herod, whose obsession with an ancient prophecy endangers soon-to-be-born Jesus.
Release Date: December 01, 2006
Writer: Mike Rich
Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Producer: Wyck Godfrey, Tim Van Rellim, Marty Bowen
Cast: Nadim Sawalha, Alexander Siddig, Stefan Kalipha, Stanley Townsend, CiarÃƒÂ¡n Hinds, Hiam Abbass, Shaun Toub, Eriq Ebouaney, SaÃƒÂ¯d Amadis, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Oscar Isaac, Alessandro Giuggioli, Farida Ouchani
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"The Nativity Story" is certainly not the greatest movie ever made. If anything, it's a competent but only sporadically interesting biblical tale.
And while you can appreciate the efforts that the filmmakers put into making this period piece as historically accurate or at least as convincing as possible, it's just not terribly thrilling or enthralling. And it definitely lacks the pomp and circumstance that made arguable classics out of such films as the 1956 version of "The Ten Commandments."
This more realistic biblical drama ends just as it starts getting good; the film climaxes with the birth of Jesus.
That choice also seems to tease a more involving follow-up film that isn't coming ... at least it's not currently scheduled.
"Nativity" is told mostly from the perspective of Mary, played here by "Whale Rider's" Keisha Castle-Hughes. Her father (Shaun Toub) has betrothed her to the hard-working and well-thought-of Joseph (Oscar Isaac), though the strong-willed teen girl isn't too thrilled by that development.
However, the kind-hearted Joseph gives Mary time to think. And that's when she receives a visitation from the angel Gabriel (Alexander Siddig), who tells the teen that she will give birth to the Son of God.
Prophecies about the virgin childbirth have also come to the attention of tyrannical King Herod (Ciaran Hinds), who believes the Son of God will end his reign, which he would like to prevent from happening.
In the film, there's never as much threat in Herod's actions as there should be, though director Catherine Hardwicke ("Lords of Dogtown") and screenwriter Mike Rich ("The Rookie") do try to lighten the overwhelmingly dark mood by having the Three Wise Men (Nadim Sawalha, Eriq Ebouaney and Stefan Kalipha) serve as welcome comic relief.
Hardwicke does get some pretty decent performances from her cast, particularly newcomer Isaac, and Castle-Hughes, who's maturing into a good little actress.
On the downside, Irish character actor Hinds ("Munich") doesn't look that convincing with fake facial hair.
"The Nativity Story" is rated PG for some brief but disturbing violent imagery (a scene depicting a crucifixion), as well as some thematic elements (including a pair of childbirth scenes). Running time: 101 minutes
E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.orgDecember 1st, 2006 · Details