For a short review I wrote immediately after I saw it on Friday, go to:
The only thing the film really has going for it is supposed authenticity of the costumes, architecture, and labor technology of the period. But none of that can make up for Hardwicke's lack of cinematic expertise, religious conviction, or talent as a storyteller.
Besides the anti-Catholic representation of the Blessed Virgin Mary having a painful birth which ruptures her virginity, we also see Our Lord crying in pain from the birth experience.
Not only did Hardwicke ignore ancient traditions, Church Councils, and accounts of Catholic mystics regarding the events leading up to Christ's birth, she instead proudly told an interviewer that the film script was influenced by the historico-critico "Biblical scholar" Fr. Raymond Brown.
Fr. Geiger mentions Mary's teenage rebeliousness in the film. But he doesn't mention the scene where she tells her mother: "I hate Joseph." (!!!!!!!)
Or the moment where Joseph displays his lack of faith while en route to Bethlehem. Looking at his sleeping wife, he prays, "Lord, if I am doing Your will, please give me some sign!"
(BTW, that prayer goes unanswered in the script.)
The film also rejects the ancient traditions regarding Mary's early life: that St. Anne dedicated her daughter to God at an early age; that St. Joachim and St. Anne had passed away when Mary was young, and she was brought up in the temple under the charge of High Priest Simeon; that Mary made a personal vow of virginity to God; that Simeon had called all the bachelors of the house of David to the temple, had them place their staves on the altar, and prayed to God to reveal to whom Mary should be betrothed (at which point St. Joseph's staff miraculously bloomed of lilies); etc. etc. etc.
The film's supposed "historical authenticity" is also undermined when it portrays the Roman centurions as running around doing the bidding of Herod.
And the depiction of the Three Magi is just sad.
Alas, I still, nevertheless advise people to go buy tickets -- because the more profit this makes, the more easily other (better?) directors and writers will be able to get other (better?) Biblical and religious films produced.
Not having seen the movie myself, how do you know He is crying from pain? Could He be exercising His lungs, as all healthy newborns do? My screaming daughters weren't in pain, but they were using their lungs for the first time and therefore crying.
How is the movie's depiction of Mary's delivery "Anti - Catholic"? If the infant Jesus just popped out without any pain , blood or water, would that be Anti - Protestant"?