Directed by Catherine Hardwicke and written by Mike Rich this is one of the most convincing Bible movies of Hollywood. They have managed to produce this movie the way that it's loyal to the original Scripture of the Bible. Of course they have made up most of the dialogue to make the movie go smoothly but it's understandable, because the dialogue doesn't twist the Bible. The movie opens with gregorian chant and the way it's filmed reminds me of The Lord of The Rings trilogy with its epic spirit. The symbolic darkness they use when evil (the soldiers of Herode) is around is the thing creating epic spirit. The used sets and backgrounds, costumes and make-up clearly show this to be a movie of high budget. The movie is visually beautiful and breathtaking: the white city of Jerusalem is producer's masterpiece. Nazareth is fruitful and green. The circumstances are depicted realistically the way they were by the time of Antique. Orchestra is bombastic and string based, choir is used a lot.
A dove is used as the symbol of Holy Spirit in this movie as we have learned in the Scripture. They have chosen the cast perfectly fitting their roles. The young Keisha Castle-Hughes does a brilliant performance as Mary: she's the way I'd imagine true Mary to be; modest, more beautiful from the inside than outside, wearing blue headscarf. I have to praise how realistically they depict the characters everybody having dark, strong features like Arabic people usually have. Some of the cast actually are from Middle East or more or less of Arabic origin like Oscar Isaac as Joseph having some Israeli blood in his veins. Hiam Abbass as Mary's mother Anna is Palestinian and Shaun Toub as her father was born in Iran but raised in the UK. Also Shohreh Aghdashloo as Elizabeth is Persian, born in Iran. The cast is generally British or of Middle Eastern origin. The actors and actresses do passionate, emotional performances.
Seen this movie it inevitably makes me want to compare it to the Bible, historical and scientific facts but also to the novels of Bodie & Brock Thoene. Their A.D. Chronicles series describe life of Jesus from his birth to death being loyal to the Bible's scripture and historical facts. This movie tells only about the period of Mary and Joseph's life until Jesus is born and the holy family escapes Herode's persecution to Egypt. Bodie & Brock Thoene have written about these events three A.D. Chronicles being in order: Fourth Dawn, Fifth Seal and Sixth Covenant. Watching this movie makes me ask, has the producer, writer or director possibly read these books? Like Thoene they have managed to create their work loyal to the Bible also adding historical and scientific facts and made-up dialogue which makes the story more vivid, natural and interesting. The Three Wise Men are Persian and called Melchior, Balthasar and Gaspar in both Thoene's books and the movie - it must be lore or a historical fact. In both books and the movie Mary and Joseph doubt how can they raise such a special child and Joseph cries for joy when Jesus is born. Other similarities between the books and the movie are that Mary's mother is called Anna, her father is called Joaquim and Mary has little sisters. The differences are that in the books Mary is described beautiful and also she's in love with Joseph; in the movie she seems unwilling to marry Joseph. In the movie angel Gabriel appears to Mary in the lawn, not inside a house like the Bible tells. There might be also other similarities and differences between the works but these paid my attention.
Final grade of the movie: a well-earned 10, could become a classic