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Nativity Story, The


Stars: Keisha Castle-Hughes, Oscar Isaac, Ciaran Hinds, Shohreh Aghdashloo

Director: Catherine Hardwicke

A sincere, straightforward but largely unexciting version of the events leading up to the birth of Christ. Under the circumstances, director Hardwicke does a pretty decent job. Certainly her film is well set: Bethlehem and Nazareth look very convincing, even if the re-creation of Jerusalem itself benefits somewhat from CGI special effects.

The Australian-born actress Keisha Castle-Hughes (an Oscar nominee for Whale Rider), has grown up to look just like Olivia Hussey. Strange indeed, as Hussey played the self-same role in the TV series Jesus of Nazareth. Here, Castle-Hughes certainly projects the right inner strength as Mary, Ciaran Hinds has a few good growls as the evil Herod, and there's a little mild comic relief from the three wise men.

Largely, though, the film is undermined by desires to remain both serious and pious, at the expense of much meaningful dramatic action.

David Quinlan

US/Italy/Morocco 2006. UK Distributor: Entertainment. Technicolor.
101 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 04 Dec 2006