Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Nativity: Parental Advisory from American Papist

Thomas at American Papist had an opportunity to attend an advanced screening of the film: The Nativity. He provides us with his review.

One thing I do want to point out for parents with small children, is this extract from his review:

"...the movie’s portrayals of Elizabeth and Mary giving birth – of course a central part of the plot – were a bit too intense to make it an easy family movie choice. Added to this fact the decision to begin the movie with a rather frightening episode from the slaying of the infants, a few scenes of crucifixion, and a young girl being dragged off by the Romans for a future of forced prostitution, and I’m left in a quandary. Did New Line want this to be the perfect family holiday movie? If so, then why all the labor screams, primitive birthing techniques and babies being put under the sword? In the movie’s quest for realism and dramatic impact I think they might have unwittingly passed over the boundaries of what most Christian parents will probably want their younger children seeing, at least if they want to postpone giving their children the full explanation for where babies come from, what crucifixion looks like and what Romans do to the daughters of Jewish peasants who don’t pay their taxes"

I don't have children, but I do thank Thomas for pointing this out for those who do, so they can decide if their smaller children should be exposed to this. Perhaps there are ways to shield them while in the show from some of the more difficult scenes. I myself was concerned how they might portray the slaughter of the innocence and hoped they could avoid the dramatics and make it so that adults knew what was going on, yet over the heads of the smaller children.

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Ruth said...

My son watched the trailer for this movie and was amazed that Roman soldiers were depicted as the slayers of the Holy Innocents. Those employed by Herod to do this task would most likely have been his own personal guard. Herod had no control over Roman troops.

Anonymous said...

I saw the movie and have quite a few points of contention.

Mary is a sad, almost miserable, individual. She does not smile. She seems to be happy only after the birth of her child. She did not want to marry Joseph and seems to "run away" for a while by going over to Elizabeth to help - no one knowing whether or not she will return. (It is she who tells her father that she is going - basically, whether or not he likes it. )
This is most certainly not a movie for young children. I think even 12 is too young.

Overall, I was disappointed with the movie but really was not expecting much. This is NOT a Catholic movie.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree w/ the previous comments from anonymous. I too saw this movie at the special sneak preview in Sterling Heights, MI. Although, yes...this movie is made by a prominent Protestant Director and another Protestant screenwriter, so we shouldn't expect much by way of serious Catholic research, it was still disappointing since they, themselves claimed they went to many sources. Mary is just portrayed in a MUCH too ordinary way. For us, as Catholics, we KNOW she is the only human being to be born without concupiscence....she is bound to act in a much more extraordinarily holy way. According to many sources (which even though they do not carry the weight of scripture...have been very helpful) Some being the apocryphal Gospels and others being our Great Saints....Our Lady was only raised by Ss. Ann and Joachim until 3 yrs old and then grew up in the temple with the elders and the consecrated virgins until it was time for her betrothal to a suitor..(St. Bridget, Ven Mary of Agreda, Blessed Ann Catherine Emmerich)...which as we know from tradition was shown them by a flowering of St. Joseph's staff...NOT by Joseph having his "eye on her" around the village until he asks her parents for her hand??? (in the movie) And as previously posted....she gets angry and walks out???? Our Lady??? The perfect picture of humility and obedience????
Walking out angry leaving St. Ann to say, "She'll come around" (or something like it) to Joseph???? I'll have to disagree also with Fr. Zuhlsdorf's comments that the "Magnificat" was so beautiful. They PURPOSELY at the end had her voice reciting it..skipping the parts that pertain to herself!!! This CHANGES the MEANING of the words. She does not say "all generations will call me blessed" she does not say "The Almighty has done great things for ME" (Just that he has done great things!)
And also skips "regarded the lowliness of his handmaid" This isn't beautiful-- it is a glaring omission so one doesn't have the opportunity if not already knowing it that Mary is singled out as BLESSED above all women. (I guess, by some, it is only considered a "Catholic View" although it is TRUTH.) The Annunciation becomes "hokey" looking as a wild haired angel appears to her just "outside in the fields" with others working here and there around her and asks her if she agrees to what God wishes. Not fitting considering the great mystery that the Incarnation is.
And finally....the birthing scene....completely ridiculous labor scene with Mary crying out and Josephs hands reaching by her ankles to "get the baby". Many Saints and Theologians have agreed, and although this isn't official church teaching--accept that Our Lady was absolutely exempt from pains of childbirth reserved for all women born with original sin. My personal favorite was Ven. Mary of Agreda's description: (although being human she, herself must try and describe this scene shown to her by heaven-- so miraculous and incomprehensible for our little human minds) She described it as, like in his Transfiguration..she saw great light...he "emanated" from the womb of Mary Passing through with no effort and no division in her flesh...she describes it also as like a ray of sunlight shines through a window...so he passed through the wall of her womb miraculously. Even physically her virginbirth leaves her completely intact.
Overall....without Catholic tradition...I guess this would be a good movie from a Protestant view, but mediocre from a Catholic one. You will see that everything YOU meditate on during the mysteries of the Rosary do not come close to these "ordinary looking" events. The scenes with the 3 wise men and their dialogue (with some funny one-liners!) are the best part of this movie along with a couple of of scenes with the Shepherds in the manger and the presenting of the gifts to the Child Jesus, and another where Joseph is very protective. I just think that Our Blessed Mother is MUCH MORE HOLY AND DISTINCT from all other persons and not this "ordinary." They rarely showed her in prayer. She is Theotokos, Immaculate, Queen of the Angels, The Saints and Queen of Heaven and of Earth. She is above all created beings.
Of course she would look and act different than any other regular human being. After all, she was not chosen by chance. Personal Rating for this film......C-

Anonymous said...

and I forgot to add....that I AM from Grotto and am proud to be accused of being a "Grotto-ite" It doesn't mean you are judgmental.....it simply means you actually use your brain to do more than sugar-cote the world's errors banalities.
The truth is Beautiful! God is Great!
In His Most Sacred Heart,

O Mary Conceived Without Sin, Pray for Us who have recourse to thee.

Moneybags said...

I saw it today and it's not a children's movie. Plus, there are a few theological errors in the movie that I wrote about. However, it was very poignant near the end when Christ was born.