Back in 2009, a British christmas comedy called Nativity! was released, based around the fictional story of how St. Bernadettes’ school Nativity performance became a Hollywood attraction. The plot is just as bonkers as it sounds, but that’s what really makes this film as good as it is.
The film stars Martin Freeman as school teacher, Paul Maddens, who’s come to hate Christmas because his ex-girlfriend Jennifer Lore left him at Christmas one year before he had the chance to propose. Despite this the headteacher of the school, Mrs Bevans, tasks him with running their nativity play this year. She also gives him a new class teaching assistant called Mr Poppy, who turns out to be as much of a child as the rest of the class if not more so!
Like every year, it is one of Maddens’s other friends Gordon Shakespeare, who runs the nativity plays at rival school Oakmoor. Determined not to be seen as a failure by his old rival, Maddens lies to Shakespeare about how a Hollywood producer (Jennifer) will be turning his production into a Hollywood film, even though he hasn’t even spoken to her in five years. However, Mr Poppy accidentally overhears this and is so excited that he has to spread the rumour. Soon Maddens finds his lie is out of control, and all he can do is go along with it as media attention mounts and the children get more and more excited.
Although the script was written by its director, Debbie Isitt, it’s also partially improvised because of the many younger cast members, this makes the children especially funny to watch. One of my personal favourites is Bob who seems to have a strange obsession with Michael Jackson’s signature dance move?! There are just too many great one-liners to name from him and all the other children.
There is also a strong musical element to this festive film, with songs such as “Sparkle and Shine” and “Nazareth” adding a little bit of extra cheese into the mix. You can’t help but sing along with these surprisingly talented 6 and 7 year olds.
Overall I feel that this film is both hilarious and heart-warming for all the family, even though it’s definitely aimed at young viewers. It’s a rare example of a film for kids that delivers laughs and emotion and hits all the right buttons.
My Christmas Rating; 7/10