Released 12/01/2006 Rated: PG
It absolutely blew my mind when I discovered that Oscar Isaac played Joseph in this movie. Now that I know that, I can’t not see it. It’s incredible! And he has to be one of my favorite parts of the film. Just the way he always looks at Mary with such love and adoration is the most heart-warming thing I think I’ve ever seen. It also blew my mind that this film was directed by Catherine Hardwicke, the very same woman who gave us the infamous first installment of the Twilight saga two years later.
We cut between three different story lines throughout the film: Mary and Joseph, King Herod, and the Wise Men. For some reason I was thinking that we don’t normally get much interaction with the latter two lines in other tellings, but now that I’m reflecting on it, that’s not true. I don’t know why I’m thinking that. Just ignore me. However, I will say that each line adds a different element to the story. Herod instills the threat and tension (obviously), while the Wise Men bring the comic relief, which I absolutely love. Who else is better suited for the task?
I only have two tiny issues with the film. The first is that I would have liked to have seen just a little more devoutness from Mary. Other than knowing the one parable they repeat in the film by heart, she doesn’t especially portray the Blessed Virgin as she’s come to be known. The film did a great job of rooting the story in reality, but I think if they had shown her praying a bit more, it would have come off better. The other thing is that Mary has a resting scowl throughout the first half of this movie. It’s more of an emotionless scowl than an angry one, but that’s almost just as bad. I can’t say that I’ve ever pictured Mary wearing any kind of frown. It’s just a little off-putting.
The Nativity Story is wonderful, both as a story and a film. Don’t let your Christmas season go by without experiencing it.