.....from Anthony Sacramone's review of The Nativity on the First Things website:
The Nativity Story does pull off one remarkable feat: You will leave the theater thinking more about Joseph (Oscar Isaac) than perhaps you ever have before. Joseph is a man of noble intentions, concerned with always doing the right thing, even as he makes his appearance in Mary’s life by encouraging a lie. A Roman tax collector has confiscated Mary’s father’s mule in lieu of payment. This mule is Joachim’s livelihood. Joseph buys the mule back from the Romans but tells Mary to tell Joachim that it was simply left behind, so as to spare Joachim’s pride. Here Joseph shows more concern for preserving the dignity of his future father-in-law than he will with preserving his own.
In significant ways it is Joseph who prefigures the life of his adopted son: He does not insist on his rights when it comes to Mary and her pregnancy. He does not apply the penalties of the law. Instead, he walks alongside her, offering her “cover,” sharing in the calumnies heaped on her. She assumes her “guilt” (although she has done nothing wrong). And all in the name of doing the will of the Father for the sake of the salvation of the world. Joseph adopts Jesus just as the Father adopts us though Jesus, his only begotten. It is Joseph who will also become another Moses, leading the Tabernacle and the Word from exile in Egypt to the land of prophetic promise (”He will be called a Nazarene”). Here he prefigures Jesus’ own Mosaic role as the ultimate lawgiver (albeit one who incarnates and fulfills perfectly that law so that all we must do—can do—is respond lovingly and gratefully). Joseph is a man of grace through and through.
In the same set of reviews, Mr. Sacramone has almost made me do what I thought was impossible: he has almost convinced me to watch Mel Gibson's newest movie Apocalypto.