Home | Sisters | Associates | Friars | Laity | Nuns | Link to Groups | World OP| DLC

Return to 2006 Films

Index of 2006

An Inconvenient Truth
Big Bad Swim
Brokeback Mountain
Cinderella Man
The Departed
The DaVinci Code
Eron: The Smartest
Guys in the Room

Good Night and
Good Luck

Half Nelson
History of Violence
Hotel Rwanda
Little Miss Sunshine
Journey from the Fall
March of the Penguins
Million Dollar Baby
Prairie Home Companion
Star Wars III:
Revenge of the Sith

Thank You for Smoking
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
The Sea Inside
United 93
War of the Worlds
Walk the Line
World Trade Center


A Review by Tom Condon, OP
(St. Martin Province)

The two-year period of Mary and Joseph's life, which culminates in their leaving Nazareth and journeying 100 miles to Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus.

At a point well into Mary and Joseph’s difficult journey from Nazareth to Jerusalem, the couple stops by a river to rest. Joseph falls asleep. Carefully and tenderly, Mary removes Joseph’s sandals and begins to wash his tired, sore, feet. It’s a moment of great beauty, tenderness, and symbolic meaning. Scenes like these make The Nativity Story well worth seeing.

The Nativity Story does a good job of transporting the viewer into the world of First Century Palestine. Mary is a young girl living in the small village of Nazareth, doing the things that young girls do: helping with chores, watching the younger children, laughing and dreaming of her life would be like. One day the angel Gabriel appears to her. In this film, Gabriel appears like a young man, not an angel with wings. We know Mary’s response which changes her life, and the history of the world. The Nativity Story highlights the courage of Mary and Joseph after saying “yes” to God. Mary could have been stoned for adultery. Joseph is tainted by his association with Mary. Townspeople look the other way when the couple walk by, or whisper behind their backs. As different as times were then and now, some things about small town life remain the same.

Mary travels to visit her cousin Elizabeth (played by the wonderful Iranian actress Shoreh Aghdashloo). Amidst so much misunderstanding and suspicion, Elizabeth is the only one who understands her. Together they share their joy. After Elizabeth gives birth to John, Mary makes the trip back to Nazareth.

Blending Luke and Matthew’s gospels, director Catherine Hardwicke brings together the shepherds and wise men. The wise men play a substantial role. They are played for comic relief as they discover the star and make their way toward Bethlehem.

Mary is well played by the young New Zealander Keisha Castle-Hughes, and Joseph by newcomer Oscar Isaac. Their growing love for each other as they make their way toward Bethlehem is one of the most touching things about the film.

The film also brings to light the fact that Israel was an occupied country. Roman soldiers come and go at will, taking whatever and whomever they wish. Herod is a paranoid tyrant, suspecting everyone of treachery.

The lovely musical score is a great asset, blending the music of familiar Advent and Christmas hymns. At the very beginning of the film, we hear the familiar melody of “O Come, O Come Emanuel.” At the end of the movie, we hear “Silent Night.” These are subtle, yet very effective, touches.

I think that The Nativity Story will become a classic. After this year, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find it in just about every Christian school and church library. It will be treasured for many years to come for its gentle, yet realistic telling of this timeless story.

Tom Condon, OP

The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is A-I -- general patronage. The MPAA rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested.



After this year, I wouldn’t be at all sur-prised to find it in just about every Christian school and church library.

Home | Contact Us | DLC
Dominican Life | USA is sponsored by the Dominican Leadership Conference,
the networking organization for elected leaders in the USA.
Dominican Life | USA © 2002-
2007, All Rights Reserved
Web Editor: Anne Lythgoe, OP

Subscribe to DomLife.org and get a free email update every two weeks.