Last night, I had the opportunity to watch a movie being released this weekend called "The Nativity Story."
The movie portrays the events of Mary and Joseph from the time they are engaged up to their flight into Egypt.
Bottom line: this is a movie worth seeing. Is it perfect? No, but they're is plenty to see that is good and wholesome and we can be glad that this kind of movie is being given the Hollywood treatment with a good cast, excellent scenery, good music (much of it hymns that you will recognize) and a great storyline.
The three Magi are cast as funny-wise men who make their way from the East cracking jokes and picking on each other. Herod is a typically brutal man who is obsessed with finding the promised Messiah and killing him.
I do think that the actress who played Mary could have smiled a little more. She seemed to be a bit too dour throughout and she was also a little rebellious to her parents in the beginning.
Tip to Hollywood: quit casting Archangels whose job it is to fight demons as feminine men.
The story line does move along well and the scenery certainly matches up with what we have traditionally seen and associated with this story. Joseph especially comes off very well as a rugged young man who is devoted to his wife and is willing to suffer to make her life more comfortable.
The Birth of Our Lord is presented with soaring music and is enjoyable to watch, and let's just please skip the unimportant theological argument of whether or not Mary suffered labor pains.
The Nativity Story is a good fore-runner to watching the Passion of the Christ.