Urban Cinefile
"David Puttnam asked me to write this and gave me $5000 to do so, and I was frightened by it. I delayed and delayed for about a year, and Puttnam got pissed off and went away, and then I wrote it"  -Bob Ellis, on the birth of his script, The Nostradamus Kid
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Saturday March 17, 2018 

Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE



Even as King Herod (Ciaran Hinds) is fretting over the prophecy that a new King, a Messiah, will arrive in Judea, the just-betrothed teenage daughter of a Nazareth family, Mary (Keisha Castle-Hughes) is visited by the angel Gabriel (Alexander Siddig) and told she will bear a child and it will be the son of God, to be called Jesus. Gabriel has also visited Zechariah (Simon Townsend) and given him the news that his wife Elizabeth (Shoreh Aghdashloo) - though past childbearing age - will also have a son, who will pave the way for Jesus. Joseph eventually accepts Mary's amazing story, and they begin the 100 mile trek to Bethlehem to obey Herod's orders to complete a census. Meanwhile, in the East, three Magi set off for Bethlehem, guided by three bright 'stars' that will align at the auspicious moment.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
It's hard to imagine a more faithful retelling, in the religious sense, of the stories told in Luke and Matthew's New Testament, surrounding the events leading to the birth of Jesus. This is not necessarily a good thing, though, because the story falls rather flat and is delivered with the earnest but dull weight of a junior school play. Admittedly well performed and in superb locations ... The heavenly choir (at one stage singing Holy Night) provide the sort of backdrop that would not be out of place in a basilica tour, and the heavenly visitations, miraculous pregnancies and such seem oddly matter of fact. If anything, the film throws into sharp relief the simplistic nature of the story, turning this pivotal aspect of Christianity into a lame fairy tale.

But that's just me; I suspect the target audience will love the purity of its story and the complete surrender to its religious touchstones. This is a film intended for families to attend rather as if attending Sunday mass, a little removed from day to day reality. An excellent primer for children being taught the story at Christmas; at least it's relevant.

Luckily the cast is well chosen and manage to remain credible speaking an accented English occasionally interrupted by Hebrew (like at prayer).

Email this article

Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

(US, 2006)

CAST: Keisha Castle-Jughes, Oscar Isaac, Shoreh Aghdashloo, Hiam Abbass, Ciaran Hinds, Shaun Toub, Alexander Siddig, Nadim Sawalha, Eriq Ebouaney, Stefan Kalipha

PRODUCER: Marty Bowen, Wyck Godfrey

DIRECTOR: Catherine Hardwicke,

SCRIPT: Mike Rich


EDITOR: Robert K. Lambert

MUSIC: Mychael Danna

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Stefano Maria Ortolani

RUNNING TIME: 91 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 30, 2006

Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2018