Greg Tyler

Christmas 2013: Nativity

Published on

Against all the odds, Martin Freeman puts on a school nativity play with his crazy teaching assistant.

Christmas spirit

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ "And that's when I decided: I hated Christmas." states Martin Freeman in the film's cold opening. In my book, a lack of Christmas spirit is just as good as plentiful amounts of it: it allows us to believe the character can change, can grow to love Christmas, and it's very hard to do that without injecting them with Christmas charm!

Sadly, some of the Christmas spirit Nativity! has is somewhat spoiled by the fact that it looks like it was shot in a damp British autumn, not a winter wonderland. Of course, being the UK, it could have equally been a fairly mild winter. Ultimately, some fake snow wouldn't have gone amiss.

Ho-ho-who's in it?

Cast of Nativity, mouths agape

They all just found out they're going to meet Ricky Tomlinson!

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ A pretty stellar British cast list, as you might expect from BBC films, pitting Martin Freeman against the wonderful villain Jason Watkins portrays. But the devil is in the details, as Ricky Tomlinson plays mayor, Alan Carr is a suitably bitchy critic and other familiar UK faces pop in for a few lines.

However, it's the children who really make the film. A fantastic ensemble, they get all the best jokes and seem to love singing and dancing around the school. Despite the size of the class, many students come into their own with lovely back-stories and silly characters.

Family fun

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ It's about a school nativity play, so unsurprisingly everyone in the family can enjoy it. There are a couple of fart jokes for the kids, and adorable children to bring ear-to-ear grins to adults' faces.

Jingle Bells

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ Again, the subject matter of the film gives a slight advantage here. It's full of songs about the story of the nativity, a lot of them written exclusively. Whilst you could complain it lacks the "classics", there's no denying that children singing about how Mary and Joseph fell in love is pretty darn seasonal!


★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Nativity! will bring joy to your heart and a tear to your eye, just as you might expect. It's also very funny, so has the honourable pleasure of making me cry both with laughter and emotions. I hadn't heard of this film before, and it was recommended to me by someone at the quiz. Now I recommend it to all of you, because it's really wonderful.

The word "adorable" just doesn't go this film justice.