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. Joesph 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 is no low budget attempt at portraying the Biblical account
This is no low budget made for TV, direct to DVD, or "preaching to the choir" type film. Quite the contrary. Like Mel Gibson's The Passion, The Nativity Story delivers the quality acting, cinematography, musical score, special effects, direction, sound, production, etc. we've grown accustomed to receiving from the most skillful members of the Motion Picture industry.
I was particularly appreciative of the way phrases in the Bible which can often be overlooked like, "Joseph...not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly." came to life on film. We see just how they would have very likely played out in the very personal lives and communities this all took place in. I found the scene riveting when Joseph labors to come up with that initial plan to send her away, and then announces it to Mary and her parents who are there with him. Also, the courage and faith needed by Joseph and Mary to believe God took on a whole new understanding when seeing how the culture they likely lived in brought intense pressures which would have very well been cause to shrink away in fear in the face of had not they obeyed the angel's charges to "do not be afraid."
A real strength of the film, I believe, was in how scenes that were straight from the Bible either used the words of the Bible practically verbatim, or at least there was just unspoken acting out the heart of the scene, with little to no unnecessary additions to the Biblical account. This, I believe, let's the Bible speak for itself for the most part and for that I send a big thank you to Mike Rich as the screenplay writer in getting to the heart of the personal lives of those involved in Jesus' conception and birth while seeking to be true to the text's original meaning. And to Catherine Hardwicke and all others involved in getting the Biblical account onto this media with all their professional skills, I say thanks as well. I'd love to see many more "Accounts" (the connotation of the word "Story" weakens the impact in my mind...but that's just me) from the Bible put to film by this great team assembled to produce The Nativity (Story).
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