Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Nativity Story -- 2006

The Nativity Story

Rated PG Mature Theme
My Rating: 4 stars

Keisha Castle-Hughes
Oscar Isaac
Hiam Abbass
Shaun Toub
Alexander Siddig
Ciaran Hinds
Shohreh Aghdashloo

Probably the best biblical film I've seen.

Who doesn't know the nativity story? You will fall in love with a beautiful Hebrew girl named Mary who is a normal girl in her small town in Judea. Carefree, kind and loving... a joy to anyone she comes in contact with. The Hebrew culture at that time, 14 and 15 year old girls were married and Mary was no exception. Her betrothed is Joseph. He is a good man; a highly respected man. Mary does not love him but it will come with time.

Suddenly, an angel appears to Mary and tells her that she is with child. She asks how can it be, since she is a virgin and has never been with a man. The angel tells her that the child is of the Holy Ghost and the Child is the Holy One. The Messiah.

In that time, if a girl was found to be pregnant, she was stoned to death... at very least, she was divorced from her betrothed and looked upon with great disfavor in her town. Mary was well aware of this, so when the angel told her that her cousin Elisabeth was also pregnant in her old age, she determines to go visit her and seek wisdom.

One of the sweetest moments in the movie is when Elisabeth greets Mary, saying the babe she was carrying in her womb leaped when Mary first spoke. Elisabeth did not judge Mary. She had faith that the angel had spoken to Mary just as Mary had said.

Three months later, Mary goes back to her own town. By this time, she is showing and the uproar in her village is exceeded only by the gossip that followed Mary wherever she went. Her parents did not believe her story and neither did Joseph. But, being just and upright, he decides not to go to the elders about Mary. She will not be executed. But being a just man, he cannot marry her, either.

One night, while he slept, an angel came to Joseph in a dream and told him that Mary was telling the truth when she said her child was God's. And not only that, he was to take Mary as his wife. With a trusting heart, Joseph arose and did as he was commanded. In doing so, he claimed the child as his and forever stained his reputation with his kinfolk and neighbors. But in God's and Mary's eyes, he was forever a righteous man.

What I Liked:
1: I appreciated the amount of research that went into this film. We see some of the effects of the Roman rule in Israel and the society in which Jesus was born in.
2: The great acting. Everyone was great. Ciaran Hinds did another phenomenal job as the bad guy in the story. :-)
3: How biblically accurate 95% of the story was. That's a huge stickler for me whether movie or book.
4: The love story. I love a good love story. :-D Joseph and Mary were forced to act against every society rule in the book but God blessed their faith and what seemed impossible was wonderful.
5: The realization that everything about Jesus' earthly life, from beginning to end, was a violation to the Jewish society. That was an amazing moment... but why should it be surprising? We serve an amazing God.
6: This movie was 99% solemn. Lots of sorrow and grief... and sweet and amazing moments but very little humor. However, when it did come, it was so funny that everyone laughs out loud.
7: Even though there are two childbirths in this movie, there is nothing improper shown.

What I Didn't Like:
1: The only thing I really disliked about this film was the purely fictional dip in the Jordan that Mary and Joseph had. It accomplished nothing for the story, except that Mary was beginning to really love and trust her man. That I did appreciate. :-)
2: I would have appreciated more details about Israel at that time. I suppose this would have made for a long movie but I love the details!!
3: One other thing that bothered me was the fact that right after Elisabeth had John the Baptist, they show Elisabeth and Zechariah sharing a bed (singing the baby to sleep). The Law said that after a women bore a man-child, she was unclean (therefore, anyone else who touched her was also unclean) for seven days... and for three and thirty days after that, she continued her purification, in which time, she was not allowed to touch any hallowed thing. I'm not sure this included her husband, but I suspect it did. ???

Does anyone have a good film to recommend set in that era in Israel... Rome... Egypt? I'm interested in that time period.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I watched it and although I wasn't thoroughly impressed, I will never read the story of Christ's birth the same way again. :) And the dip in the river was rather extreme. I wondered about it, but romanticly speaking, it was rather sweet. :) Bekah