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The Nativity Story Review Critics


Dave White Profile

… offer[s] no fresh insight … Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 42

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    The Nativity Story is a film of tame picture-book sincerity, but that's not the same thing as devotion. The movie is too tepid to feel, or see, the light.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    As a piece of religious instruction or an animated version of a crèche, it accomplishes its aims. As a movie, however, it's slow, plodding, and not terribly interesting.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Wilmington

    The Nativity Story surprised me. I didn't expect such an obvious art film approach. Yet the Bible, in the King James version, is great English literature.

    Read Full Review

  • 80

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    Unfolds in a scrupulously accurate historical adventure story that depicts the world of Jesus' birth with an exciting you-are-there verisimilitude.

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  • See all The Nativity Story reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 10+

The Bible on the big screen: New take on old tale.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that most kids probably won't be clamoring to see this serious biblical drama. It includes references to stoning, rape, and the slaughter of innocent people. Mary endures whispers and looks from neighbors (she's pregnant but hasn't had sex -- they wonder how this can be). She and Joseph embark on a difficult trip to Bethlehem, enduring thieves, harsh weather, sandstorms, a perilous river crossing, and a run-in with a snake. The takeaway message (for Christians and non-believers alike) is that hope and faith go a long way toward getting you through life's rough patches.

  • Families can talk about how Mary and Joseph react to their extraordinary situation. Even though they had doubts, they didn't shy away from responsibility. Why do people call on faith and hope when times are rough? Also, when someone trustworthy tells you something that seems unbelievable, should you trust them? How realistic do you think the movie's portrayal of biblical times is? How do kids think the director did depicting this timeless story? How do they respond to seeing religion on the big screen? How do our modern values color the story of Mary and Joseph?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: No one believes that Mary didn't have sex, so she has to endure their looks, whispers, and even the threat of stoning. In Bethlehem, the couple is turned away as she's ready to give birth. Mary and Joseph hold fast to their faith during difficult times.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Mary and Joseph endure a harsh trip to Bethlehem, battling sandstorms, treacherous terrain, hunger, thieves, and a snake during a river crossing. Brief scenes of innocents being slaughtered. Mention of Mary being stoned.

  • sex false0

    Sex: The story revolves around Mary's "immaculate conception." People react harshly to the idea that Mary may have had sex before marriage (her mother hints at rape). Mary and Elizabeth endure painful labor during childbirth.

  • language false0

    Language: Not an issue

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not an issue