By Rick Pearcey
The topic is film, and they're talking about The Nativity Story over at the LATimes, where Pop Culture Talking Points notes that Catherine Hardwicke's new effort "premieres at the Vatican [Sunday, Nov. 26, 2006] and will be released in theaters at the end of the week. New Line is pushing some major The Passion-style Christian outreach, but Hardwicke (whose previous gigs include kids-gone-wild films Thirteen and Lords of Dogtown) is sorely lacking Mel Gibson's religious clout."
IndiaeNews worries the pope will be a no-show. "Pope Benedict XVI is not likely to attend the premiere of the film The Nativity Story though it is to be screened in the Vatican itself."
The problem? "The movie stars Keisha Castle-Hughes, who plays Mary," and a "reason cited for the Pope skipping the screening is that Hughes is pregnant but unmarried and the Catholic Church has not taken well to that, said imdb.com."
The Vatican offers a different explanation: The pope is visiting Turkey. "The surprise would have been if he had [attended]," says the Vatican.
SanFranGate is undaunted. "Industry Buzz" says, "Roll Out the Red Carpet. "Today [Sunday, Nov. 26] marks a blessed event in the annals of movie marketing, as The Nativity Story . . . becomes the first feature film to premiere at the Vatican. The movie will be shown at Pope Paul VI Hall with filmmakers on hand along with 7,000 guests. Proceeds from the benefit screening go toward construction of a school in Mughar, Israel. Populated by Christians, Muslims and Druze, the village is located 24 miles from Nazareth."
Ted Baehr at MovieGuide says The Nativity Story "shatters expectations." He seems to like the script -- "one of the best . . . ever for a biblical story."
A thumbs-up as well for the "dialogue, the plot development," and for "turning points" that are "refreshingly dramatic."
Director Catherine Hardwicke is "superb. Joseph and Mary are very human and very Jewish and very much in love."
All in all: The Nativity Story is "nearly perfect."
Comment: Even closer to perfection might be this: New title -- The Nativity. Drop "Story," which unnecessarily feeds into the secular line that we're not dealing with historical events, etc.
The information in the primary New Testament documents reports the events of the birth of Jesus as rooted in space and time. It is well known that naturalistic scholars have a problem with this, but this is a philosophical defect on their part not reflected in the historical data.
Here's the website.
Rick Pearcey is editor and publisher of The Pearcey Report.