Shining a Light on The Nativity Story


The Star is an animated film that narrates the celebrated Nativity story. It is told through the eyes of the animal characters that accompanied Mary and Joseph on their journey to Bethlehem. This angle brings a twist to the well-known biblical account, infusing it with a light-hearted yet respectful tone suitable for all ages. As both a critic and a Christian, I felt compelled to examine how well this movie stayed true to Christian teaching. My review focuses on ‘The Star’s’ integration of Christian principles, its family-friendly adventure approach, and its ability to communicate timeless messages through a modern medium. In this Christian Review of The Star Movie, I also give you the information you need before viewing this film with your children.

Key Takeaways:

  • Fresh Perspective: ‘The Star’ offers a new take on the Christmas Story, as seen by its animal companions.
  • Christian Values: The film features prominent Christian lessons like generosity, integrity, and compassion.
  • Family Entertainment: It’s crafted to cater to Christian viewers. However, it is accessible and enjoyable for a broad audience while telling the Greatest Story ever told.
The Star: The Story of the First Christmas. Movie poster featuring animated animals and Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus

Movie Synopsis:

The Star serves as a delightful animated rendition capturing the essence of the birth of the Son of God. Set in a vibrant, historical environment, it offers us a retelling of the story of Jesus Christ through the eyes of endearing animal companions.

We witness a brave donkey, Bo, breaking free from the monotony of his daily grind at the village mill. He has a heartfelt yearning for adventure and an integral role in a grand story. Landscapes of the ancient world unfold as Bo and his fellow animal friends—a lovable sheep named Ruth and Dave, a dove with aspirations of grandeur—embark on a quest.

Bo’s initial flight from a mundane life leads him to a chance encounter with Mary and Joseph. While initially, he doesn’t understand their divine purpose, he eventually realizes that his hopes to carry a king need to take a backseat to take care of pregnant Mary. 

Their trek across rugged terrains and bustling towns is fraught with dangers and challenges, each moment inviting an opportunity for growth and revelation. With whimsical humor and innocent curiosity, these animal characters negotiate the dangers that lie in wait, bound by a conviction that they too are part of something monumental—a testament of faith that reverberates through their journey to Bethlehem, echoing the core of Christian belief.

Christian Review What Parents Want to Know


No foul language.


This is the area of content that young audiences may have the most difficulty watching. If you have read the Biblical Account of the Story of the First Christmas, you will know that the journey of Mary and Joseph was filled with danger with King Herod wanting to kill all first born baby boys born to Hebrew women. 

King Herod says, “This new King is a problem. Get rid of the problem.”

In one scene, there are flying knives. Furthermore, there is an evil henchman after Mary and Joseph, and he is accompanied by two vicious dogs. There are several scenes where the dog & wolf are growling, teeth barred. In another scene, a marketplace is destroyed while Bo tries to save Mary from the dogs. In another scene, the donkey kicks a dog. The dogs also fall over a cliff (they are saved in the end).

Spiritual Content:

This entire film follows the journey of Mary and her husband, Joseph until the birth of Jesus Christ. It takes great artistic license. However, it is a great retelling for small children. An angel appears to Mary, and Joseph has a spiritual encounter with an angel. The language surrounding the Biblical story includes words such as “created for a purpose” and “this is part of God’s plan.” Furthermore, the song “Mary Did You Know” plays. 

Additionally, the Christmas Star or the Star of Bethlehem is shown throughout the movie shining in the sky. This star leads the 3 wise men to Jesus.

Christian Teachings and Values

I find ‘The Star’ does a remarkable job weaving fundamental Christian principles into its storyline. Generosity shines through in the willingness of characters to give selflessly to others, reflecting the Christian call to love and give without expecting something in return. We see animals and humans alike sharing their resources and comforts, an encouraging representation for viewers to emulate.

Integrity is another cornerstone presented with care throughout the film. Characters are faced with decisions that test their moral compass, and it is their steadfast adherence to honesty and moral uprightness that portrays a compelling message. The film nudicates young minds toward truthfulness and the courage to maintain one’s beliefs despite challenges or temptations.

Additionally, the portrayal of compassion is both poignant and instructive. Characters display empathy and kindness in various situations, embodying the Christian mandate to ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ This vivid demonstration of compassion serves as a practical lesson on how viewers can incorporate this virtue into their daily lives.

The narrative also emphasizes the significance of fulfilling one’s responsibilities. Characters demonstrate dedication to their roles and duties, even when faced with obstacles. This not only aligns with the Christian ethos of duty but also reinforces the notion that perseverance and commitment are critical to overcoming difficulties and achieving goals.

Overall, ‘The Star’ succeeds in instilling values and teachings that are central to Christian doctrine while also providing a captivating narrative that resonates with a wide audience.

A Christian Review of The Star Movie – Family-Friendly Content

I appreciate the delicate balance ‘The Star’ achieves in blending its religious message with elements designed for family enjoyment. This animated depiction of the story of the Nativity of Jesus is careful not to overpower its spiritual themes with secular humor, ensuring its core messages resonate with all audience members. The film embraces Christian values while maintaining a lighthearted tone, allowing children and adults alike to engage with the narrative in a meaningful way.

While ‘The Star’ includes moments of peril and threat, such as characters facing physical danger, the movie presents these scenes with a gentle touch. The instances of violence, like hitting or falling, lack graphic detail, avoiding any depiction that might disturb younger viewers. This approach allows for excitement without causing undue distress, making it suitable for even the most empathetic of children. I found the film’s way of projecting intense moments in a non-threatening manner to be commendable and well-suited to its intended audience.

Compassion and understanding are emphasized, as the movie steers clear of gratuitous violence, focusing instead on teaching lessons about bravery and standing up for what is good. Parents can rest assured that ‘The Star’ serves as an amiable introduction to the birth of baby Jesus, fostering a space for family dialogue on faith, love, and kindness without compromising on entertainment value.

Voice Cast and Music

I appreciate the challenges faced by voice actors in a film like The Star, where conveying a nuanced message through animated characters is pivotal. The voice cast in this movie indeed shines, bringing to life the animal characters with warmth and humor. This not only captures the essence of the characters but also enhances the heartfelt messages at the film’s core.

The talented actors embody the emotions of their roles, allowing viewers to connect with the story on a deeper level. They strike a fine balance, ensuring that the Christian values embedded in the film resonate with the audience without feeling overbearing.

Equally noteworthy is the film’s soundtrack, which plays a significant role in establishing the movie’s dual nature as a source of religious inspiration and engaging entertainment. The music weaves through the narrative, elevating key moments of spiritual reflection as well as scenes of light-hearted fun. It’s a repertoire that bridges the gap between conveying the sacred aspects of the Nativity story and keeping a younger audience captivated. The thoughtful selection of songs and score, in tandem with the voice performances, powerfully underscores the film’s overall objective—sharing the Christian message of the story through a vibrant and accessible medium.

Cultural Identity and Diverse Cast

In ‘The Star’, the tapestry of characters showcases diversity, reflecting a world where various creatures have meaningful roles and contributions. The film presents an ensemble of animals with distinct personalities, origins, and species, embodying a message that the journey to faith and understanding is universal.

This mosaic of characters underscores that the Christian narrative embraces inclusivity, resonating with believers of diverse backgrounds. The portrayal of Mary and Joseph also leans towards a compassionate and considerate depiction, irrespective of their cultural identity, emphasizing that the core Christian values of love and acceptance are not bound by ethnicity or social standing. 

‘The Star’ invites viewers to see the Nativity through an inclusive lens, demonstrating that Jesus’ birth is an event of significance for all humanity, and its message of hope and salvation is offered to every person. As a piece of Christian storytelling, it affirms the belief that God’s love is all-encompassing and that the message of Christmas is indeed universal.

Reflections on the Journey

Reflecting on ‘The Star,’ I see a significant contribution to Christian entertainment, marked by a thoughtful blend of biblical narrative and modern animation. This film stands out for its imaginative angle on a cherished story, offering families an engaging way to explore the very first Christmas.

Its impact on young minds cannot be overstated; the movie offers visuals that plant the seeds of faith, friendship, and the true spirit of Christmas. ‘The Star’ prompts conversations among families about the virtues of steadfastness, altruism, and the steadfast bonds of friendship that carry us through life’s trials.

The film’s portrayal of the Nativity through the eyes of its animal characters provides a gentle introduction to Christian teachings. It serves as a catalyst for deeper exploration of biblical accounts, igniting curiosity in children and perhaps paving the way for their spiritual growth.

As a piece of Christian animation, ‘The Star’ gracefully straddles the line between reverence for its sacred subject matter and the need to captivate a youthful audience. It fortifies the bridge between generations, allowing parents and children to connect over a story that resonates through the ages.

In summary, I recommend this film. In this ‘The Star’ Christian Movie Review, I discuss the content and why I believe the creative license does not deter from the movie but yet enhances the story. This is Christian cinema with its fresh perspective on the story of Christ’s birth.

Additionally, it sparks conversations on faith that can nurture a child’s understanding of Christmas beyond the usual festivities. This animated tale, by weaving threads of integrity and compassion into its narrative, reinforces the Christian values that underpin the holiday season, making it a meaningful watch for families seeking entertainment with a soulful core.

About the Movie:

Rating: PG

Release Date: November 17, 2017

Runtime: 1 hour, 26 minutes

Genre: Kids & family

Style: Animated

Studio: Columbia Pictures, Affirm Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, Walden Media, The Jim Henson Company, Franklin Entertainment

Director Timothy Reckart

Screenplay written by: Carlos Kotkin

Produced by: Jenni Magee Cook

Edited by: Pam Ziegnerhagen

Music by: John Paesano

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Releasing

The Cast of The Star

Boaz “Bo” (donkey) voiced by Steven Yeun 

Mary voiced by Gina Rodriguez

Joseph voiced by Zachary Levi

Dave (dove) voiced by Keegan-Michael Key

Ruth (sheep) voiced by Aidy Bryant

Thaddeus (wolf) voiced by Ving Rhames

Rufus (dog) voiced by Gabriel Iglesias

Cyrus (camel) voiced by Tyler Perry

Felix (camel) voiced by Tracy Morgan

Deborah (camel) voiced by Oprah Winfrey

King Herod voiced by Christopher Plummer

Edith (cow) voiced by Patricia Heaton

Leah (horse) voiced by Kelly Clarkson

Zach (goat) voiced by Anthony Anderson

Abby (jerboa) voiced by Kristin Chenoweth

Rebecca (chicken) voiced by Mariah Carey

Old Donkey voiced by Kris Kristofferson

Hunter voiced by Lex Lang

Caspar (wise man) voiced by Joel Osteen

Balthazar (one of the three wise men) voiced by Phil Morris

Melchior (wise man) voiced by Fred Tatasciore

Elizabeth voiced by Delilah

Christian Review of The Star Movie (2017)

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