I saw "The Nativity Story" the weekend it was released (On Sunday, December 3) and enjoyed it. It was a uplifting and inspirational film. However, it didn't blow me away like "Passion of the Christ". It is a more "worldly" film and does not have that ethereal quality to it, that "The Passion" did. When I viewed "The Passion of the Christ" I felt as if the Holy Spirit had inspired Mel and was guiding him to tell the story just as he had the authors of the Bible.
"The Nativity" is Hollywood's version of how the birth of Christ took place and it is indeed a beautiful story. I particularly liked the way St. Joseph (Oscar Issac) is portrayed - as a kind, thoughtful, loving, and obedient man - who is the strong protector of his family. He was quite admirable in the film.
It was also interesting to see the shepherds' and the wisemen's stories in this movie - something that is unique to Hollywood films.
"The Nativity Story" presents a very human, down - to - earth version of Christ's birth with non - Caucasian actors speaking in mideastern accents. However, it is not authentically Catholic and that is obvious in its portrayal of Our Blessed Virgin Mary. Although I thought the actress (Keisha Castle - Hughs, Whale Rider) did a fine job as acting as an ordinary Jewish girl, I have a problem in viewing Our Blessed Mother as ordinary. Our Blessed Mother was immaculately conceived - she had no stain of original sin on her soul and she was without blemish. She was extremely beautiful inside and out. For her to look and act the way she did (imperfectly) in the film is not exactly as we would expect based on our beliefs. Also, in the film, Mary is shown struggling with labor pains when giving birth to Jesus, which is not in line with Catholic beliefs.
I suspect that the film-makers purposely did not include these aspects of Catholic teachings and traditions, in order to make the film more appealing to people of various faiths. It is truly an ecumenical film in that sense. It is a beautiful and simple story of Christ's birth.
I recommend you see it - it's one of the most inspiring and spiritually upflifting Christian films I have seen since "The Passion of the Christ". (Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe not included.)
I give it three of four stars - very good. ***