In Nazareth, teenager Mary is betrothed to the local carpenter, Joseph. Mary is visited by an angel and told that she will fulfill a prophecy and as a virgin give birth to God's son, the savior of the world. Mary's pregnancy brings her the scorn of the community and Joseph struggles to believe her seemingly outlandish story. Meanwhile, a census forces every man and his family to return to his place of birth. Joseph and Mary set out on a long and arduous journey to Bethlehem. This story is based on the Biblical account of the birth of Jesus Christ. Written by
This was the first feature film ever to premiere at the Vatican. See more »
The old shepherd's mustache is yellowed by nicotine, a sign of habitual smoking. While cannabis and hookah pipes were familiar to the Middle East as early as 2000 BC, tobacco wasn't introduced to the old world until the late 16th century. See more »
[a man tries to steal their money]
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Perhaps the most authentic and accurate version you'll ever see
If you believe that Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus and everyone else in the actual events were white, Anglo-Saxon Europeans living in Central Park in New York or in California, you will be disappointed with this movie. If you want to see how people really appeared, lived and responded to the actual culture in Israel at the time of the birth of Christ, this is a work of art.
"The Nativity" is an excellent depiction of the actual events as we know them from the Bible. While it has very minor "flaws", these are buried under the number of things that make this film accurate and authentic.
Mary does not wear her piety on her sleeve and get hysterical and dramatic at every turn in the story. Instead she is accurately portrayed and played as a simple peasant girl in a very traditional culture with strict rules of behavior. She responds hesitantly but with faith to the events that focus on her.
Joseph is equally realistic as a young peasant just beginning life, and any man who has ever faced marriage for the first time will appreciate the dilemmas facing Joseph and his reactions to them.
Herod is an historically-accurate and ruthless jerk, but the movie does not overdo his part. The balance is just right; he's on camera enough to convey his wickedness and his part in the plot, but not enough to distract from the message.
The wise men are great! Instead of being simple plastic figures in a nativity scene on your mantle, they really come to life, add a lot of context to the movie, and provide a lot of information about how and why things happened as they did. The timing of the wise men's arrival may be off - but no one is 100% certain when they did arrive so this is not a big deal.
When the shepherds are visited by an angel to announce the birth of Christ, the angel is not followed visibly by "a heavenly host praising God" - but you can hear them.
I could go on and on and on, but the point is that this is an excellent depiction of events that occurred in Israel 2,000 years ago. If you want to learn about and marvel at what life was really like at that time, see the movie. It will bolster your faith. If you want to see Adam Sandler playing a Jewish Santa Claus to celebrate Christimas, this is probably not the movie for you.
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