The Nativity Story earns positive review from the NYT





It’s best to think of “The Nativity Story” as a Hollywood version of the kind of Christmas production some of the “Peanuts” kids put on in “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” This is not meant as a criticism. Quite the contrary.

Directed by Catherine Hardwicke from a script by Mike Rich, “The Nativity Story” sticks to the familiar details of the narrative and dramatizes them with sincerity and good taste. There are no flights of actorly or cinematic bravura — though all of the performances are credible, and some better than that — and very few big, showy, epic gestures. Rather than trying to reinterpret or modernize a well-known, cherished story, the filmmakers have rendered it with a quiet, unassuming professionalism.

The challenge in producing a movie like this is to find enough conventional movie elements — suspense, realistic characters, convincing dialogue — without selling out the scriptural source. How do you make piety entertaining without seeming impious? A certain degree of kitsch is inevitable, and perhaps even desirable.


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