“The Star” is a wonderful retelling of the Christmas story but with a fun twist: the animals who inhabit the story drive the action.
Who would have ever thought that the birth of Jesus could be turned into an action/adventure movie but it happens in “The Star” without taking away from the sacredness of God coming to earth for our salvation.
Bo, short for Boaz (Steven Yeun), is a mill donkey, literally going around in circles as he and his old donkey (Kris Kristofferson) companion grind mill in a barn in Nazareth. One day, Bo (along with a whole bunch of other animals) notices the birth of a bright start through a knot in the barn wall and he’s sure that it means something special. When Bo’s best friend, Dave (Keegan-Michael Key), a dove, flies into the barn telling Bo that the royal caravan is near, they make plans to break Bo out of the mill so they can join the caravan and finally do something important.
Meanwhile, in another part of town, Abby (Kristin Chenoweth) the mouse sneaks into a home for some bread crumbs just in time to witness Mary (Gina Rodriguez) being visited by an angel with wonderful news: she is to give birth to the long-awaited Messiah! Abby quickly rushes out to tell the other animals the story. She becomes the first witness of the Incarnation.
In a faraway land, the three wise men also observe the star and set out to follow it. The camels they ride, Deborah, Cyrus, and Felix (Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, and Tracy Morgan respectively) figure something fishy is up when they visit King Herod (Christopher Plummer) and he orders a hunter to find Mary and kill the baby. The hunter takes his two bad dogs (Ving Rhames and Gabriel Iglesias) and sets off for Nazareth.
After escaping from the miller, Bo finds refuge in Mary’s yard just as she and Jospeh (Zachary Levi) are planning to head to Bethlehem for the census. Since he’s headed for the royal caravan, Bo stays behind, only to meet the dogs when they come calling. Realizing that Mary is in danger, Bo convinces Dave to join him in trying to warn Mary of the danger she is in instead of joining the royal caravan.
Along the way, Bo and Dave meet Ruth (Aidy Bryant), a sheep who’s lost her flock. She saw the star and tried to convince her flock to follow it but not one would join her. Certain the star is important, Ruth teams up with Bo and Dave, accepting them as her new flock. Together, with help from the camels, they find and then guide Mary and Joseph to the famed stable where the baby is born.
“The Star,” while remaining true to the spirit of the story of the birth of Jesus in the Bible, brings humor to an adventure story about someone small and insignificant making choices that end up putting him in the middle of the greatest story ever told.
Academy Award-nominated director, Timothy Reckart, believes the film has something special to say to people of today. “It’s about how something that seems small can be bigger than it looks on the outside. Bo has been looking to do something important, and he starts seeking that in a self-aggrandizing way,” says Reckart. “Along the journey by doing a small thing – helping these two people, which, for all he knows, are just some random couple – he winds up doing the most important thing he could ever achieve. Greatness comes in the most humble appearance, which is the message of the Christmas story itself.”
“The Star” proves that anyone, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, can be a witness, not only to the Incarnation of God’s Son, but to the workings of God in our world today.
About the Author
Sister Hosea Rupprecht is a member of the Daughters of St. Paul, a religious community dedicated to evangelization with the media. She holds a Master of Theological Studies degree from the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto and an MA in Media Literacy from Webster University in St. Louis.
Sr. Hosea is director of the East Coast office of the Pauline Center for Media Studies, based in Staten Island, NY, and speaks on media literacy and faith to catechists, parents, youth, and young adults. Together with Father Chip Hines, she is the co-host of Searchlight, a Catholic movie review show on Catholic TV. Sr. Hosea is the author of How to Watch Movies with Kids: A Values-Based Strategy, released by Pauline Books & Media.
For the past 15 years, she has facilitated various film dialogues for both children and adults, as well as given presentations on integrating culture, faith and media.