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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Biblical precepts throughout. Preaches compassion and love ("love thy enemy"). Love will always flourish. Hate only fuels unrest. Turn the other cheek; let the hand of God punish. Inner peace comes from forgiveness; "choose forgiveness over retribution." Jesus's birth changed the course of mankind forever.
Positive Role Models
Joseph and Mary are reverent, devoted to God, loyal, brave, willing to stand up for what they believe. They minister to the poor, the sick, and other unfortunate people. Joseph is an outstanding role model for young Jesus, teaching him strong values that will guide Jesus' life. Another central character struggles between wanting revenge and opting for forgiveness. Romans are uniformly evil, violent, murder at will.
Violence & Scariness
Harsh, disturbing scenes with a baby and a little boy killed by Roman warriors. While the deaths are just off camera, the bodies are visible immediately afterward and the mother wails piteously. Several unarmed adults are slashed and killed. Bloody bodies on the ground. An Israelite is stabbed in the back in front of his wife and children; he falls forward, bloody. A woman slashes a soldier's face. A fierce fight between a man and woman: the woman claws the man's face; the man cuts her with sword. A beloved character dies of natural causes.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A heroic character drinks wine to excess in one scene; becomes drunk.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Joseph & Mary is a direct-to-DVD movie that attempts to fill a void left by the Gospels. The lineage and character of Jesus's "earthbound" father, Joseph, is recognized in the New Testament as a good and respected man; however, there was little written about Jesus' early life with him. To that end, the film team has created the story of Joseph with Mary and Jesus as a child. The film presents many of Jesus' teachings and preaches strong values. In fact, Joseph is seen here to be the source of some of Jesus' vital insights. At the core of the story is the dilemma of vengeance versus forgiveness. The film doesn't flinch from using brutality as a means to tell the tale. Violent scenes include the death of a major character and the heartless stabbings of men, women, children, and even a baby. A mother's horrifying reaction to the slaughter of her family is intense. A man drinks to excess in one scene. Not recommended for younger kids. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Earnestness and strong religious messages can't overcome the mostly wooden acting, shoddy production, and brutality shown in this story based partially on the New Testament. The story the filmmakers created to enhance the character of the Biblical Joseph is particularly harsh. While it's a plus to see Joseph more fully realized as a mentor, protector, and loving father, the movie is artless, clunky, and far more unsettling than uplifting. Using the Bible as source material for Herod's attempts to rid Israel of any infant or toddler boy who might be the Messiah, this film's emotional arc depends upon the death of a baby, a small boy, their father, and their grandfather. That, along with the relentless scenes depicting their mother's grief and thirst for revenge, makes the movie suitable only for very mature tweens, teens, and up.
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.