The Nativity Story review

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It’s the unofficial prequel to The Passion Of The Christ and, 33 years before the Son of God endures Gibbo’s blood-splattered finale, The Greatest Story Ever Told begins in Bethlehem, a little town where Mary (Whale Rider breakout star Keisha Castle-Hughes) and Joseph (Oscar Isaac) discover there’s no room at the inn.

Director Catherine Hardwicke (er, Lords Of Dogtown) matches The Passion’s dusty authenticity but shoots in English and keeps the slaughter of the innocents off-screen. Lots of wide-eyed, slack-jawed thesping desperately tries to convince audience doubters that a miracle’s on its way, although the solemnity’s not helped by the three wise men playing unfunny comic relief. Apparently, it’s already snagged the papal seal of approval, with a Vatican premiere. How ironic, then, that 16-year-old Castle-Hughes recently announced she’s preggers. Her boyfriend reckons it’s his, not the Almighty’s...

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