My family and I went out to see The Nativity Story yesterday afternoon (yes, the snowplows finally hit our street Sunday afternoon, and the cinder trucks laid down some grit for traction).
This film was well done and gave a sensitive portrayal of what Mary must have endured as a young woman who was found to be pregnant when customs did not permit sexual activity, as well as her submission to the Lord and her trust in God's providence.
Joseph is portrayed as a youngish man who feels hurt and betrayed by what (to his understanding) can only be unfaithfulness on his wife's part. He comes across, as Scripture relates, as a righteous man.
The dialog is a mixture of Scripture and educated guesses as to what else might have passed between Joseph, Mary, her parents, and the townspeople of Nazareth, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem. Where Scripture provides dialog, it is used pretty much as it appears in the Bible and where Scripture is silent, the film provides dialog that is well-delivered and makes perfect sense. Even the small amount of comic relief does not diminish the message being portrayed.
Much research seems to have gone into the making of this film, and ordinary details of life of 2,000 years ago are depicted with skill.
The last I saw on the Yahoo! Movies site, the critics gave it a C+ and the viewers gave it a B+. It may not be Oscar material, but I enjoyed it, and was moved by its portrayal of the familiar characters surrounding the birth of Jesus. It is definitely worth seeing.