Parents' Guide to

The Nativity Story

By Jane Boursaw, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

The Bible on the big screen: New take on old tale.

Movie PG 2006 102 minutes
The Nativity Story Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 10+

the original Christmas story

This isn't for young children. If they enjoy hearing the story of Jesus's birth they should see, hear or read a sanitized version. That said, this provides details, some of which are speculative, that you don't usually hear. Viewers will get new insight into the story of Mary and Joseph. The playful way in which they interacted at the beginning of the movie will tell viewers, especially adolescents, that couples back then were in many ways no different from modern couples. While most people who watch are no doubt religious, nonbelievers will enjoy this movie too, as it has messages that resonate with believers and nonbelievers alike, such as generosity, goodwill and weathering life's difficulties.
age 13+

Childbirth scenes

The birth scenes (Elizabeth of John the Baptist and Mary of Jesus) are intense but not graphic. Kids (I think) need a grasp of what childbirth is. If they do it is a great opportunity to show that though these women are in intense pain the outcome is a miracle!

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5 ):
Kids say (12 ):

The movie''s notable in that it takes us inside the biblical characters' experience -- what they're thinking and how people react to their extraordinary situation. With very little source material to go on, it's true that most of this movie is speculation. But thoughtful direction by Catherine Hardwicke and a strong screenplay by Mike Rich give viewers a glimpse into Mary and Joseph's emotions.

Castle-Hughes portrays Mary with all the angst you might expect from someone in her situation. It's heart-wrenching to see Mary endure disparaging looks from neighbors, the threat of stoning, and the doubts of her own parents. Mary and Joseph feel woefully inadequate for such enormous responsibility, yet they quietly shoulder their responsibilities with hope and faith. This movie is a little slow in spots, and it's clearly religious. But its message of peace and goodwill will resonate with non-believers as well.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: November 30, 2006
  • On DVD or streaming: March 20, 2007
  • Cast: Keisha Castle-Hughes , Oscar Isaac , Shohreh Aghdashloo
  • Director: Catherine Hardwicke
  • Inclusion Information: Female directors, Indigenous actors, Polynesian/Pacific Islander actors, Latino actors, Female actors, Middle Eastern/North African actors
  • Studio: New Line
  • Genre: Drama
  • Topics: Adventures , History
  • Run time: 102 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG
  • MPAA explanation: some violent content
  • Last updated: December 12, 2023

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