Saw The Nativity with friends and family on Sunday. For Hollywood, I was impressed by their lack of taking liberties with the story. I would recommend seeing it. The actors portraying Herod and Joseph did fine jobs. You really see Herod’s paranoia and Joseph’s struggle. Mary is well portrayed. I left thinking about how old Mary was. Likely young. Imagine explaining to your husband-to-be and family that the Holy Spirit impregnated her. Yeah, right, Mary, tell us another one. Mary’s father does his best to make it acceptable by trying to get her to admit it was Herod’s soldiers. How did she not get stoned? Throughout the story, the magi add some comic relief to an otherwise grim story.
The birth takes place in a cave, another likelihood given the geography of the area. What bothered my kids the most (6 and 8 years old)? Not Herod’s soldiers getting ready to kill the boys but the birth scenes. Elizabeth and Mary groan and struggle briefly. Their pain bothered them. As a bonus the ride home offered the opportunity to have a little conversation about sex and how babies are born.
Two things were out of place. First, Mary’s teeth are snow white, flashing every time she talked. Not likely. Though I was happy to see they used a middle-eastern looking cast. Lots of lovely brown skin and eyes everywhere. Second, the scenes of the trip to Jerusalem and then on to Egypt were portrayed like Sahara Desert dunes. The Israeli wilderness is a beautiful but not commonly dunes.
Still a worthwhile movie and one that makes the Christmas story come to life. And another reminder that Herod belongs in our nativity scenes (thanks Erik Larsen for pointing that out).