The Nativity Story (2006)

nativity story poster 2006 movie
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Nice looking, decent acting

Story is too known to be compelling for an hour and a half

Movie Info

Movie Name: The Nativity Story

Studio: New Line Cinema

Genre(s): Drama/Family/Seasonal

Release Date(s): December 1, 2006

MPAA Rating: PG


Boy, miracles pregnancies really run in our family

A confused young woman named Mary (Keisha-Castle Hughes) learns she is to be the mother of the Messiah. With fears of rejection from her fiancé Joseph (Oscar Isaac), Mary goes to her aunt (Shohreh Aghdashloo) who has also had a miracle pregnancy. When Mary and Joseph are forced to make a journey to Bethlehem, they find themselves racing time as Mary grows closer to birth.

The Nativity Story was released in 2006 and had a special screening opening at Vatican City (a first). It was received with mixed reviews and there was a minor scandal surrounding it due to sixteen year-old Keisha-Castle Hughes who played Mary announcing that she was pregnant with her boyfriend at the time.


Somehow, I don’t think Bethlehem is going to be better

The movie does have a nice authentic (or at least what can be perceived as authentic from stories) look, but was mostly shot in Italy. It was nice to see a movie at least make an effort to cast a more diverse cast than the standard “white guys” that make up other Biblical movies.

Keisha-Castle Hughes does a nice job as Mary and though his role when compared to Mary is smaller, Oscar Isaac does a nice job as Joseph. The script is very minimal and they do the best they can with what they are given. Hughes’ Mary is full of doubt and like her turn in Whale Rider, Hughes shows acting skills above her age.


Wow, what a cliffhanger! I didn’t think they’d make it

The problem with The Nativity Story is the story. First everyone knows it, everyone knows about the journey to Bethlehem, the wise men (who are played for a bit of comic relief), and the birth of Jesus. It is hard to build up any suspense with a subject that everyone knows. Their attempt at action, a scene where Mary falls into the river when their donkey is scared by a snake, kind of falls flat. The movie is quite dull and what children have done for years as a quick 1/2 hour or less Christmas pageant gets extended for an hour and a half.

The Nativity Story is an average movie. There isn’t really anything great about it or horrible about it. It is relatively harmless so it is the type of movie a family could sit down and watch together for the holiday season. It is always interesting to see “real life” portrayals of Biblical characters…and filmmakers are often too worried to make any radical differences to the story. This really wasn’t the point of this movie, but that doesn’t necessarily lead to entertaining storytelling.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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