Thursday, December 19, 2013

Nativity! (Debbie Isitt, 2009) Review

With the excellent film The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, I needed to see more films starring Martin Freeman and, what with it being the Christmas season, I found a film that seems to fulfill this. Nativity is a Christmas film starring Martin Freeman so I figured we should take a look at this one. It only seems right to take a look at a Christmas film that deals with the Nativity...kind of the point of Christmas, isn't it. Well then, let's take a look at Nativity!

Coming up to Christmas, Primary school teacher Paul Maddens (Martin Freeman) is assigned the task of working on the school's performance of the Nativity. In addition to this, the class assistant, Desmond Poppy (Marc Wootton), arrives and proves to be a opposite to Paul's strict disposition. Things get worse though when Paul tries to impress his rival Gordon Shakespeare (Jason Watkins) by claiming that Hollywood producers are arriving to see the performance. Poppy spreads the word which puts all the pressure on Paul and his growing lie.

This was definitely the surprise Christmas film for me. Seeing all the adverts, I really didn't think much of it but after watching it, it's good. Not amazing but good enough to be a Christmas classic I reckon. Martin Freeman offers one of his more emotional performances that is surprisingly touching that ties into Paul's quite heart-breaking backstory which is accompanied by Ashley Jensen carrying over her skills from Extras. Other actors might not be as good but Freeman and Jensen hold the film up. Even the children actors do a good job of making the children unique and memorable.

I must say it is refreshing to see a Christmas film that doesn't focus on the commercial side of Christmas and focuses more on what the whole point of Christmas is. Christmas specials such as The Vicar of Dibley and Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'em do focus on the Nativity but I haven't really seen a film focus on it (some recommendations of more of these would be appreciated). It is an engaging film as well considering that it does draw you in. That's always a plus.

Nativity! may not be the best Christmas film ever but it was a pleasant surprise and has made it as an annual viewing for me. Martin Freeman makes the film with a surprisingly strong performance accompanied by Ashley Jensen. The children do a good job while other characters aren't necessarily as good as the leads. Love Actually still stands as the best Christmas film with Martin Freeman but this still has its place among the Christmas film collection.

The acting is good and it's definitely a feel good film. There are still a few minor complaints but still a good Christmas film.

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