Journey to Bethlehem Movie Review

Director/co-writer Adam Anders (Glee, Rock of Ages) weaves classic Christmas melodies with new pop songs in this music-infused retelling of the Nativity story. Featuring the acting talents of Fiona Palomo and Milo Manheim (Outer Banks), as well as Antonio Banderas as Herod and Joel Smallbone of Christian pop duo For King & Country.

The Story

When it comes to Christmas movies for the whole family, there aren’t many that are as well-rounded and as fun as Journey to Bethlehem. It’s a live-action musical that tells the story of Mary and Joseph, along with the birth of Jesus Christ.

This version of the Nativity story is filled with catchy pop songs and dance, but it also has a spiritual message. The gomovies filmmakers take some creative license, but they also try to stay true to the biblical account of the greatest story ever told.

Fiona Palomo and Milo Manheim are excellent as Mary and Joseph, while Antonio Banderas delivers one of the best portrayals of Mad King Herod that we’ve ever seen on screen. Lecrae, the Grammy-winning Christian hip-hop artist, is also great as Gabriel. Overall, the cast is solid and this film is sure to please young children and adults alike. It is an inspiring retelling of the Christmas story that everyone should see.

The Cast

Well known for his work on peppy musicals like Glee and Rock of Ages, Grammy nominated songwriter Adam Anders steps behind the camera for this lively song and dance retelling of the Nativity story. Taking a little dramatic license with the story and injecting some incidental humor the film is still full of energy and “pazzazz”.

Milo Manheim delivers an impressive portrayal as Joseph, Mary’s reluctant betrothed. He captures the heart of a humble man torn by love and duty and manages to maintain a steady balance between stoicism and awe at what he is a part of.

Antonio Banderas camps it up as King Herod with his trademark snarl and black eye liner but still manages to find the humanity in the character. Christian rapper Lecrae is also a standout as the angel Gabriel. This movie is full of joy, hope and truth and is an excellent choice for the entire family to experience this Christmas.

The Music

From the people behind Glee and Rock of Ages comes this live-action musical adventure that weaves classic Christmas melodies and new pop songs into a retelling of the story of Jesus’ birth. The film works for families because of the peppy songs and likable performances from the cast.

Director/co-writer Adam Anders (Glee, Rock of Ages) makes the most of the music by letting it serve as a window into the emotional struggles of his characters. Fiona Palomo and Milo Manheim are dynamic young leads, while Antonio Banderas and Joel Smallbone give useful comic relief as the king and his heirs.

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The soundtrack is a good mix of traditional holiday songs, sung mostly in the peppy style the movie employs, and newer, character-based tracks that flesh out the dynamics of Mary’s and Joseph’s arranged marriage, Antipater’s feelings about his father, etc. The latter take up about three tenths of the album’s total running time, including a show stopping medley by the Three Wise Men as they offer their gold, frankincense and myrrh to Herod.

The Direction

A fun, entertaining and hope filled musical based on the birth of Jesus. This film is perfect for the whole family. Directed by Adam Anders, who is best known for peppy music in projects like Glee and Rock of Ages, the lively Journey to Bethlehem focuses on Mary and Joseph’s attempt to add personal commitment to their arranged betrothal and follows a comic version of the Wise Men (Omid Djalili, Geno Segers and Rizwan Manji). 


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