MOVIES: The Nativity Story

This afternoon Hugh Hewitt was interviewing the screen writer for a movie opening in USA on Dec 1 titled The Nativity. 3,000 theaters will show it. The screen writer is an evangelical from a non denominational church. He is hoping that Pope Benedict will view it as it will be available at the Vatican right before the Pope leaves for Turkey. Sounds wonderful.

Rats! I missed Hewitt. “The Nativity” looks promising though. Just curious, are you a fan of Dennis Prager?

My work schedule allows me to catch Hewitt on my way home, 4 pm. Dennis Prager on during work hours. However, I have caught him a few times. He is moral and kind.

I only listen to him and Hewitt!

I saw a preview for the Nativity movie. It looks to be excellent. I’ll see it when it is out in the theatres.

For me the jury is still out.

I haven’t seen the movie, and I won’t pretend to be an expert on it, but the little that I have read on it gives me pause. It’s important to keep in mind that this is a protestant film made by protestants, some of them ex-Catholic.

Knowing how protestants differ in very significant ways in their Mariology, I think that there may be less in this film for Catholics to get excited about than there was in “The Passion of the Christ”. This fear is justified a little bit when you read some of the comments by the filmmakers.

This CNS article is fairly good. One illuminating quote:
Co-producer Marty Bowen, a Catholic raised in Texas, said that growing up he always put Mary “up on a pedestal.”

“The Nativity Story” is trying to make Mary real, Bowen said, adding that he hoped that the movie would help people see “Mary was a girl before she became a woman and a woman before she became the mother of God.”

It appears that a sub-plot of the film is the growing love between Mary and Joseph during their journey to Bethlehem. It could be troubling enough to see Mary portrayed as being unhappy about her betrothal to Joseph at the beginning of the film. But the filmmakers say that Mary’s appreciation for her new husband grows throughout the film.

This may seem innocent enough, but given that protestants believe that Mary did not remain a virgin after Jesus’ birth, this sub-plot may be a device for showing Mary’s growing affection for Joseph. Not that I think there will be a questionable scene or even talk of Mary’s future children with Joseph, but it leads the audience towards the protestant view of Mary and Joseph’s relationship instead of reinforcing the Traditional doctrine.

I hope I’m wrong about these fears. It’s opening at the Vatican after all, and one would hope that if there was anything subversive to a genuine devotion to our Blessed Mother, we’d hear it from them first. It’s been said that Catholic scholars were consulted during the making of the film, but depending on who is consulted, this can be a misleading disclaimer.

I’ll probably wait for Steve Graydanus’ review just to be sure.

I think it’s a truly beautiful thing to consider the very real and human aspects of Mary, Joseph, and all those who played an amazing part in the history of our Faith. There WERE human, after all. And to deny that is to put them so far apart from us that we can’t relate to them.

What a beautiful example the scared and human Mary can be to a young married girl, pregnant for the first time, or even a single mother for that matter. To trust God, and not be afraid. That is just so amazing and inspiring to me.

Anyway - here is the link to the movie site:

It looks like a very visually beautiful film, I am very much looking forward to seeing in.

Beats the sex, drugs, and murder that comes out of Hollywood, even it if IS a slight bit “off” when it comes to Marian doctrine.


If it gets good reviews I’ll see it. I am not worried about this being close to what the Church teaches about Mary. Not every Christian is a Catholic.

I’m not looking forward to it. I suspect this will be an Evangelical movie which means Mary will be presented as a ordinary girl, sins and all.

My perception of Mary, during her earthly life, was one that likely appeared, outwardly, quite ordinary. At least ordinary in it’s most fundemental meaning. Being immaculately conceived is not something that shows. Her not committing sin of course would set her aside but she would still appear to be simply and humbly a young mother.

I’m guessing that where the movie is entitled “The Navitity” that only the very early stages of Jesus life will be portrayed. Hopefully, on this front, Catholic and Protestant theology will be quite the same. Therefore making for a beautiful movie. Let’s hope, there is certainly enough garbage out there. Let’s hold onto to what is good.

HBO ran a 30 minute “First Look” on The Nativity, caught it this weekend. Twice during this show I had tears in my eyes twice! I can just imagine, at the movie, I’ll have to bring a box of tissues. It looks beautiful!

Skipping this, probably. I skipped the Esther movie too. Last such film I saw was Passion, and ever since I’m not really interested in movies that present the happy, cleaned-up family channel versions of Biblical stories. Probably save my money for Apocalypto.

This is going to offend, but I also think Apocalypto is a braver story. Lifting the story of the Nativity onto the screen seems like something done by those looking for guaranteed business, whereas Gibson is taking a chance with such a risky story. I know the story, and I know all the historical background behind it. I know a lot about the setting of Apocalypto, too, but I haven’t seen anyone try to faithfully adapt it to the screen before.

I’ll see the Nativity movie but skip Apocalypto. Personally, I don’t care about ancient Mayan civilization. It has nothing to do with me, but the birth of Christ does.

I think you’ll find that the Ancient civilizations of the Americas have everything to do with you if you live on that continent. Just because you don’t share their beleifs doesn’t mean you aren’t connected.

I’m in North America, not South or Central America. It bored me in history class in school.

We’re all part of the same world. Not being able to realize it sounds like a your problem to me, not theirs.

Sorry, but I am not a liberal!

returning to OP topic, I have just ordered tickets for my coordinators and team, we are going the first weekend, meal afterward, my Christmas gift to them.
I will suspend judgment on the artistic merits and content of the film until I see it, rather than basing assumptions on third party reports and speculation.

I just read the Catholic Universe Bulletin, the paper published by the Diocese of Cleveland. They did not have a review of the movie, but they did have a large advertisement for it in the paper. It must be worth seeing if they printed that ad.**

Knowing that everyone is connected regardless of the barriers we set in our minds does not make you a liberal. This conversation has really veered into makey no sense land, so I’m just going to bow out.

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