The Nativity Story: Starts Today!

The Nativity Story chronicles the arduous journey of two people, Mary and Joseph, a miraculous pregnancy, and the history-defining birth of Jesus. This dramatic and compelling story comes to life in a major motion picture starring Academy Award® nominee Keisha Castle-Hughes (Whale Rider) as Mary, Oscar Isaac (Guerrilla) as Joseph, and Academy Award® nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo (House of Sand and Fog) as Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist.

The Nativity Story is directed by Catherine Hardwicke from a screenplay by Mike Rich (Finding Forrester, The Rookie). It is scheduled for a Friday, December 1, 2006 release. Filmmakers are bringing an unprecedented level of commitment to ensure the authenticity not only of the Nativity story itself, but of the film's look as well. "We are looking for epic intimacy," says director Catherine Hardwicke. "We want this journey to be big and beautiful, but we want to feel what these people felt. I hope audiences can relate to the film on a personal level and find some inspiration to get through their own challenges and difficulties." Producer Wyck Godfrey adds, "We chose Catherine because she cuts against the grain of the picture-book version of the movie that could have been made. She has had great success at really capturing the lives of young people in particular, and the conflict, crisis, and pain of growing up. The idea of bringing her point of view to Biblical times is very interesting." She, writer Mike Rich, and production designer Stefano Ortolani spent countless hours researching the era to ensure every detail looked and felt authentic. Because the actual locations of Bethlehem and Nazareth have become fairly modernized over the years, the production decided to shoot in the village of Matera, Italy, which has been virtually unchanged for centuries (and was previously used as a location for The Passion of the Christ).

"Matera is more authentic than the actual sites now," says Rich. "Present-day Nazareth is a modern town. Jerusalem is a very modern town. Even Bethlehem is not what it used to be. Matera offers absolutely every authentic aspect of those communities." Additionally, the production journeyed to Ouarzazate, Morocco, where it shot scenes involving Herod's castle and the temple of Jerusalem at the same locations used in such films as Gladiator and Kingdom of Heaven.

For previews, pictures, group sales, and more information, please visit The Nativity Story website .

The Nativity Story

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  • Guest

    I would not take my children to see the Mother of God, in pain during the birth of Jesus, God. That is not Catholic teaching.

    Also, although she was the earthly wife of Joseph, there would have been no intimacy, (washing his feet while sleeping?) for she was the spouse of the Holy Spirit.

    From what I have heard of the movie, so far, I am not amused.

  • Guest

    But, as Catholics, we must also be clear that it is not Catholic doctrine that she did NOT endure pain during the birth of Jesus.

    Would it be so difficult to believe that Mary could and would choose to accept the pains of labor as yet another means of suffering with and for her Son? Because she sure had much pain and suffering ahead of her as the rest of her life played out.

    As for intimacy, I have not yet seen the movie – so I cannot directly comment on how it is portrayed. Certainly Mary would have been the most loving of wives to St. Joseph, even if in a non-sexual way. She would have fully served him in that role as her most chaste spouse. The washing of the feet imagery (just reading it here) flashes me to the washing of the feet by Our Lord with the apostles. It is service. And maybe by doing it during he sleep, it was a service unbeknownst to him: the most hidden service that only God sees is the most powerful and loving.

    My children are young (7 and younger), so I would certainly not bring them to the movie on account that – if it really is true to the story – the killings of the Holy Innocents would be too much for my children to bear at this point. But again, I would have to see it first to truly make that call.
    – Loretta

  • Guest

    You must remember that Mary was truly human and like woman today she carried with her the original sin bestowed upon her by the actions of Eve, therefore you must assume that she would suffer in childbirth just as any woman. The story of Jesus is not a peaceful one, as evidenced in his life and his death. So then why would you assume that his birth would not yield his mother some sort of pain. Jesus did not die a beautiful death so then why should we assume his birth was a magical moment. The selfless act of our Blessed Mother in giving herself freely to God is the actual magical moment. From that point forword the life of Jesus was one of suffering until the day of his death. And like any mother of his time or ours his mother suffered with him. As for Catholic teaching, the birth of Jesus is not detailed as clearly as his death. But imagine the time in which in his born and the place. He was born in a manger aka a barn surrounded by animals. Do you honestly think he was born in a sterile hospital as our children are born today. You must also remember Mary was the wife of Joseph and like any wife many little things are done to show love and intimacy w/o the actual act of intimacy. From your comment I have deduced you are only stating your opinion based on what others have told you and not by what you have witnessed firsthand. Be very careful in doing this, I suggest you first read up on what the church’s view is on the movie, then watch the movie yourself before you make a rash judgment on someone else’s ideals. May God Bless you all.

  • Guest

    Also as Catholics we should be aware and accept the doctrine of Immaculate Conception, which means that Mary was conceived WITHOUT original sin. Hence she was untouched by Adam’s & Eve’s sin and did not carry the stain. Whether Our Lady suffered labour pains is open to debate. She did suffer pain on Good Friday as her heart was pierced watching her Son die.

  • Guest

    Lordie, folks, we’re friend here – let’s have some reviews from those who go soon to see it, and we can argue then about what really is, not what could be/might be/ought to be.

    From what I have seen over the years, this movie sounds like a keeper. Get a copy for your kids to view with you in ten years, and share the deep treasure for us that Mary was as human as you, me, and your babes, and she is now Queen of Heaven. That she never touched sin was by her choice, from her free will, as much as her Immaculate Conception. That was God’s gift precisely because He knew she would not sin, would submit to being mother of God and . . . well, He so loves her with all He is. But, He loves you and me and your kids that much, too.

    I remain your obedient servant, but God’s first,

    Pristinus Sapienter

    (wljewell @mail.catholicexchange.com or …yahoo.com)

  • Guest

    I fully intend to see the movie.
    I fully intend to get the DVD (so that in a couple more years, I can start to share such a positive aspect of Hollywood with my children).

    But for now…
    we are immersed in a novena to the Immaculate Conception, culminating on December 8th. May she be honored by us because Christ so honors his mother.

  • Guest

    What a clever ecumenical thought . . .

    ‘Novena by immersion’ – bet you could sell it to the Bible-belting types.

    I remain your obedient servant, but God’s first,

    Pristinus Sapienter

    (wljewell @mail.catholicexchange.com or …yahoo.com)

  • Guest

    Hi,
    I thought the movie was good, but not great. Toward the beginning Joseph asks Mary to lie about how they got their donkey back, and I don’t find that in keeping with what the Bible calls a “just” man. The Virgin Mary also seems selfish and childish, and even argues with her parents a bit. This seems contradictory to the Biblical view of her as obedient and loving and patient.
    When the BVM goes to Jerusalem on the way to Bethlehem, it appears that it’s the first time she has been there, but tradition holds that she was brought up there from about 3 to 13. I would have expected that portion to be a bit more rich. Joseph is younger, traditionally I always pictured him a bit older. It may not matter too much to some, but eventually we’ll get to a point where the next movie a few years from now will have Mary with about 12 children. Where does it end? Overall, though, it’s an awesome story and good to see it on the big screen.
    Cheers, Andy

  • Guest

    I have to say that I really enjoyed it!

    If my children were still young and I had my choice between taking them to see Santa Claus 3 or the Nativity .NATIVITY ALL THE WAY!

    I’m not going to debate this movie because thats really all it is , A Movie

    to sum it up ,,, the movies good,, but the BOOK is better!!!!

    Catholic Music at CM247.com and SpiritWingRecords.com

  • Guest

    Well, we can hope as a movie – an elaborate bauble of entertainment, after all – it is also a harbinger of the film industry’s more open, honest and tolerant stance on the Christian and ‘values’ bases of Matrimony and family.

    Indeed, it simply must be our prayer that all communication be open to God’s will, love and truth.

    I remain your obedient servant, but God’s first,

    Pristinus Sapienter

    (wljewell @mail.catholicexchange.com or …yahoo.com)

  • Guest

    I watched this movie and found no real fault with it in fact I love the film and intend to watch it every year.

    I know that Mary had no original sin,but I have no real problem with her suffering pain. Her intimate love and care of Joseph was very touching. And, I love the portrayal of Joseph’s virtue.

    He tells Mary to spare Joachim’s pride about the donkey’s return…but I don’t think of it as a direct lie or sin. Except for birthing pains and Joseph’s age the film is exactly faithful to Catholic tradition.

    Keisha’s face is pouty during the show, but she just has a pouty mouth naturally. I am so happy for her that she is preagnant and hope her soon-to-be-marriage is happy and life-long. God bless her for keeping her baby and shame on the secular media hypocrites for picking on her.

    Px-mas blessings to all.

    -T.

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