A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
We shouldn't twist the truth to give ourselves comfort.
Positive Role Models
The three Magi persevere through difficult conditions to make their way to worship a young messiah. They admit to their shortcomings in an intimate conversation. Herod is an unstable and murderous despot.
Violence & Scariness
King Herod threatens to have the Magi killed if they don't return to report to him the whereabouts of the newly born messiah. He has a reputation for brutality. Crucifixions, beheadings, and sticking someone's head on a spike are mentioned. The devil touches a young boy's face and he's next seen in agony, clutching his eyes, blinded. Dead bodies are seen. Herod seems about to stab himself to death but changes his mind. A man is beaten and blood is seen on his face.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A man visits the woman he loves in her women-only tent, against the wishes of her father. They do nothing but talk, as he later explains after the father has beaten him to a pulp.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
An adult drinks wine.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Chasing the Star follows three Magi who have been sent in the direction of Bethlehem in search of the latest, but reportedly truest, messiah. The journey is arduous and dangerous, and along the way they face their own shortcomings. A man is beaten up; some blood. Some dead bodies are seen. A man tries to stab himself but can't. Crucifixion and other tortures are mentioned. A man enters a woman's tent at night. He does nothing but talk to her. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Technically speaking, this may possibly be the worst moving picture ever made about anything, but certainly among the worst about the early days of Christianity. The quality of camerawork, lighting, writing, editing, and direction in Chasing the Star are all awful. The director makes admirable efforts to place the action 2000 years back but then populates his cast with modern haircuts and actors who spout dialogue using everything from Valley Speak to Brooklynese to British English. Some deliver formal speeches with hilariously informal accents. Others drop most of their consonants. One guy says, "I shuh ge' home" (translation: "I should get home"). The devil says, "Shirley, I do' wanna invoke the wrath of such servants" (translation: "Surely, I don't want to invoke the wrath of such servants"). A character chides another for speaking of death, but chooses sarcasm to convey his disappointment: "That was joyous talk, just joyous," he says disapprovingly. One priest states the obvious, that they've fallen out of favor with the sinister caravan master, to which another priest responds with a snide, thoroughly 21st-century Americanism: "Ya think?"
The filmmakers seek to tell the story of the sacrifices made by the Magi -- who some say were astrologers and some say were kings -- in the early days of Christianity. Given the excitement Christians would presumably associate with the actual discovery of the messiah in the manger, it's odd that the movie dwells for more than 40 of its 96 minutes on the Magi sitting in a dark tent waiting for a storm to pass, a storm it's much later suggested was put in their path by the devil. Note that occasionally dead bodies are seen with no explanation of who they were or how they got there. The movie ends in a quick sequence of unrelated and incomprehensible cuts, including a brief closeup in which a weeping Herod (why is he weeping?) contemplates suicide (why?) and then decides against it (again why?) while the devil seems to be watching (how'd he get there?). Shirley reading the New Testament would be more rewarding.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.