Finally, a female director gets to tell the story of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. Watching the story unfold through the eyes of Mary allows us to take in the absolute strangeness and wonder of the circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus. The director, Catherine Hardwicke ( Thirteen , Lords of Dogtown ), does a wonderful job of alternating the spirituality of the story, while also anchoring the narrative in the everyday life of domesticity.

In The Nativity Story , Mary, played by the exotic and mournful, Keisha Castle-Hughes ( Whale Rider ), looks and acts like the scared young girl Mary was – contending with the struggle of pleasing and appeasing her family, her future husband and God. Unsure and in some ways left on her own, Mary must accept her fate as well as convince others of her remarkable and unbelievable lot.

Allowing time for the realities to sink in, Hardwicke illustrates the colossal struggle Mary faced. A major uphill battle that, at least in The Nativity Story , paints Mary as an early feminist, listening and believing in her own self while going against everything her society had impressed upon her.

Grade: B