My favorite Christmas Eve movie is The Nativity Story, a magnificent telling of the Christmsas Story that somehow remains under the radar despite a stellar cast and production team.
From Moviefone: Australian-born Whale Rider sensation and Oscar nominee Keisha Castle-Hughes stars opposite Oscar Isaac in Lords of Dogtown director Catherine Hardwicke's dramatic account of the Annunciation, and the arduous journey of Mary and Joseph to give birth to baby Jesus. House of Sand and Fog's Shohreh Aghdashloo co-stars in a film with a screenplay by The Rookie and Finding Forrester scribe Mike Rich. Filmed in the village of Matera, Italy (a locale that has remained virtually untouched by modern progress and also served as the backdrop for Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ), and Quarzazate, Morocco, former production designer Hardwicke's film strives for authenticity in telling the Bible's most treasured tale.
I had just completed teaching the OT in Seminary when I first saw it, and I was dazzled by the historical accuracy depicted in the period and the characters. This movie is absolutely beautiful, melding cultural elements into the story that add depth to Mary's singular position, and to Joseph's spiritual dilemma. We witness the pain of Mary's parents as the town that loves thenm reacts to her pregnancy, and the fear that motivates Caesar Augustus to go to great lengths to destroy this new king. We rejoice with the three Wise Men who read the signs in the heavens marvel as they set off in search of the prophesied king.
Sometimes, the story of the birth of Christ can be too great, too marvelous to wrap our minds around, but The Nativity Story displays the miraculous in very human terms, and it leaves us changed.
Christian devotees will be spellbound, and history lovers will be too. Spectacular way to personally experience the birth of Jesus Christ.
Youtube has a link to view the movie in it's entirety, but here's the purchase link. This film and its cast deserve to be viewed on your big screen. http://www.amazon.com/The-Nativity-Story-Keisha-Castle-Hughes/dp/B000MGBM1I Merry Christmas!