Critic Reviews



Based on 28 critic reviews provided by
The Hollywood Reporter
Unfolds in a scrupulously accurate historical adventure story that depicts the world of Jesus' birth with an exciting you-are-there verisimilitude.
Chicago Tribune
The Nativity Story surprised me. I didn't expect such an obvious art film approach. Yet the Bible, in the King James version, is great English literature.
At its best, The Nativity Story shares with "Hail Mary" an interest in finding a kernel of realism in the old story of a pregnant teenager in hard times. Buried in the pageantry, in other words, is an interesting movie.
Village Voice
There are a few quietly affecting scenes here, in which we see Mary and Joseph as the terribly frightened newlyweds they probably were, unsure of what to make of their extraordinary circumstances. But too often, the actors register as little more than set dressing and, despite Hardwicke's resolve to give us the realNativity as we've never seen it before, much of the movie smacks of convention.
It's a rather lifeless re-telling of the Nativity, with greeting-card imagery and stiff performances.
The A.V. Club
A filmed Sunday-school lesson that favors a dry, by-the-Book approach over even a suggestion of dramatic interpretation. It's more Christmas pageant than movie.
Memories of dreary Sunday school classes come flooding back courtesy of The Nativity Story.
As a piece of religious instruction or an animated version of a crèche, it accomplishes its aims. As a movie, however, it's slow, plodding, and not terribly interesting.
Entertainment Weekly
The Nativity Story is a film of tame picture-book sincerity, but that's not the same thing as devotion. The movie is too tepid to feel, or see, the light.
The story is good, but the execution favors the safe over the challenging. Personally, I'd rather just read the Bible.

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