I've just come back from seeing "The Nativity Story", and would give it a thumbs up. First let me say that no movie of the Nativity can fulfill all our our expectations, as faithful Catholics, we pray the rosary and meditate on these mysteries frequently, and thus have formed a mental picture or relationship with the Blessed Mother that's impossible to match. I didn't find Miss Caslte-Hughes performance particularly inspiring, but Joseph's portrayal as a strong, self-sacrificing husband touched me deeply.So did the warmth and spirituality of the elders in the film, I particularly enjoyed the actress who played Elizabeth, as the professor in "The Exorcism of Emily Rose", and she was luminous as Mary's cousin, adding depth to the Visitation.
I was deeply moved by the manger scene's special effects, My young children saw it as a live nativity, (though I would hesitate to bring very sensitive little ones to the theatre because of the violence of the Roman soldiers).
All in all, it was a faithful rendition of the Nativity, which put me into a meditative spirit for the beginning of Advent. Give it a chance, and let Hollywood know they're on the right track. (next time let Mel pick the Virgin Mary!)