web analytics

Journey to Bethlehem Movie

It is difficult to find good religious films – much better to find faith insights in ordinary (“secular”) films. [Some of you may know, I taught about film and theology – stage 2 of a theology degree; put “film” or “movie” into the search box of this site if you want to explore further].

Journey to Bethlehem was not a film I thought of going to until I checked its Rotten Tomatoes score: 73% Tomatometer, 94% Audience score is very healthy for any movie!

It’s a musical. Adam Anders (Glee) and  Peter Barsocchini (High School Musical) wrote the script (and the music).

I have a fascination for historical middle-eastern context of biblical stories: this film won’t help you with that – leave all that at the door. This is more Christmas-Card, Nativity-Scene storytelling. Shepherds (Luke’s Gospel) are mixed in with Wise Men (Matthew’s Gospel). There are three Wise Men, who are Magi, who are Kings, and are called Melchior, Balthazar, and Gaspar…

With there being so little in the Bible about Jesus’ birth, it’s surprising in a Christian movie that significant parts of the Christmas story are missing: yes, Gabriel appears to Mary (a fun bit – yes, there is humour throughout the move – is Gabriel rehearsing what to say), but Mary does not say anything equivalent to, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38). Mary visits Elizabeth, but there isn’t any Magnificat…

And there are some interesting insertions: Herod the Great’s son, Antipater (you know the one executed in 4BC) – well, if you see the film, you will discover his role in this version of the story… it might lead to a whole new reason for Antipater’s execution…

This is a children’s movie. If adults go to this movie, go bringing your inner child. (If you are considering going as a family with a teenager, or a youth group…) some teenagers putting away childish things may struggle to do that…

My favourite bit: Joseph wrestling with himself (“literally”) whether or not to stay with Mary or to break the betrothal.

Official website of the film

Do follow:

The Liturgy Facebook Page
The Liturgy Twitter Profile
The Liturgy Instagram 
and/or sign up to a not-too-often email

Similar Posts:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.