Journey to Bethlehem review by Drusilla Blakey
I’m one of those people who will watch pretty much any Bible-based, religious movie that comes out. As a licensed minister, it’s a subject matter that really interests me. As I sat down to watch Journey to Bethlehem, I was like “well here we go with another story about the birth of Jesus.” But what I felt while watching this film was so much more.
This version of the story provides deeper insight into the lives of Mary and Joseph. Some people may not know this, but if you study the story of Mary, you find that she was just a teenager when the angel of the Lord appeared to her to let her know she would be giving birth to the savior of the world. Joseph was a young man promised to marry her, and we don’t get much insight into his feelings or doubts in biblical writings, so it’s interesting that this movie includes Jospeh’s point of view. It’s something we don’t normally see in the nativity story.
Now, I will admit that at some points during the movie, I was like “wait a minute, this isn’t in the Bible” - but I had to remember it’s a movie. And more than that it’s a musical! So, of course, it’s going to be a little bit more dramatic, perhaps a little liberal in its story telling, but it is absolutely well acted, and the singing was well done. This movie really got my attention, brought me in, and had me crying! I absolutely felt the impact of the story.
Another thing that I enjoyed were the costumes and the sets. We finally got some vibrant colors, textures, and even a good variety of people of color and varied nationalities in the film. The lead actress, Fiona Paloma, a native of Mexico City,
and is mostly known for her Spanish TV shows and films. So, it was a great to have that diversity in the casting. We also have Milo Manheim, who people may remember from the teenage “Zombies” movies, who is all grown up and does a wonderful job as Joseph bringing us to his side of the story. Of course, we can’t forget Antonio Banderas singing his heart out as the evil king - I mean… it’s Antonio Banderas.
Overall, I found this movie to be very enjoyable. It wasn’t just another story about Jesus, it’s actually the story about Joseph and Mary, and what they were going through. And although, perhaps, not 100% biblically accurate, the filmmakers acknowledged this at the end of the movie and they say their goal was simply to make a great movie about the greatest story ever told, which is the birth of Jesus Christ.
Decide for yourself and check out Journey to Bethlehem available now on digital, Blu-ray and DVD from Sony Home Entertainment.