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The Star | 2017 | PG | - 1.3.1

In the days leading up to Christ's birthday, a little donkey (voiced by Steven Yeun) and his friends help Mary (voiced by Gina Rodriguez) and Joseph (voiced by Zachary Levi) find a place to stay and escape the wrath of the King of Judea and Roman leaders. Also with the voices of Keegan-Michael Key, Kelly Clarkson, Patricia Heaton, Kristin Chenoweth, Tracy Morgan, Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey. Directed by Timothy Reckart. [1:26]

SEX/NUDITY 1 - A clothed man on a sleeping mat holds the hand of a teen girl, his wife, who is on another sleeping mat.
 A woman tells a man at their wedding party that she is pregnant and he is surprised. A husband hugs his wife and we see her with a swollen belly under her long dress. A pregnant woman groans in pain and says it is time for the baby to come; we later see a baby in her arms.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 3 - A giant assassin wearing metal armor, helmet and with heavy shoes, carries a long, curved sword that is notched twice behind the point and he holds a heavy chain attached to a fighting dog; the assassin chokes a man and throws him off-screen, chokes another man against a wall and releases him, and pushes a woman off a street, sticks the sword through a wooden gate, unlatches it, and chases a donkey, knocking it to the ground, but it escapes.
 An assassin hangs over a cliff with a chain holding two dogs over one of his arms when he purposely drops the dogs, and a donkey catches them by their connecting chain and drags them to safety; the assassin jams his long sword into the top landing of the cliff, the ledge breaks away and he falls (we see his empty helmet hit the ground with a thud and we do not see him again and he's presumably dead).
 A donkey pretends to fall and when a man returns another donkey swings the arm of a millstone into the man and knocks him down; the animal escapes when his harnesses and collar fall off, the man gives chase and is hit by falling crockery and a bucket of paint in the streets and the donkey and the man fall into a chicken coop causing the birds to yelp, and the donkey escapes and runs into a couple of fruit carts and a display table spraining a leg (a young woman splints the leg). A man ties a donkey to a stable pillar, but it escapes when a bird pecks the man in the eyes (no injury is seen); the man swats the bird to the ground, but it is not hurt. An assassin falls when a flock of sheep charges him and a bird hits him in the eye with a talon (we see no injury). A cart of crashing pottery hits an assassin as it falls, and the man sails through a wooden kiosk, reducing it to sticks. A man falls over a donkey, hits his head on a wooden fence, and falls on his back; no injuries are showing. A donkey slams his head into a gate several times, unable to open it. A donkey kicks a dog across an alley. A dog knocks a donkey down and stands on him. A man lifts a donkey by its mane and drops it (no injuries are shown). A man falls to the bottom of a well, but he climbs out unharmed. A donkey falls down a hill and lies there, groaning, but is not seriously injured. A donkey chained to a millstone upsets a rack of pottery that crashes to the ground in pieces; a lamp overturns and sets a low table on fire with yellow flames until the miller enters the area and shouts at the donkey, placing it into a collar and harness.
 An assassin and two fighting dogs scare a donkey in its enclosure with the dogs snapping and snarling, but the donkey escapes when a bird distracts the dogs; the donkey runs away into the wilderness and slides to a stop at a cliff drop-off, screaming and he falls and slides down the cliff and over large rocks, finally landing on top of a bird on the ground; when the donkey stands up he finds the bird, complaining of being in a lot of pain, is plastered to the donkey's buttock (the bird is not seriously hurt). A camel kicks a stone into the head of a soldier in the background and the man falls unconscious. A cow hits a goat on the head with a hoof. An assassin makes a torch with a stick of wood and fire from a lantern.
 A king growls, "Get rid of the Messiah" and later, "I'll just have to kill them all (children in Bethlehem)." Two fighting dogs on a heavy chain confront a donkey in an alley and a dog says, "We should have eaten him when we first met him." A bird tells a donkey that a grain miller was perhaps going to eat the donkey. A fighting dog says, "We're gonna die." Another fighting dog snarls, "Someone's gonna die." Three camels argue and bicker throughout the film. A sheep roars in close-up into the camera.
 An angel appears to a teen girl as faceless, blue-white light with small swirling lights like fireflies, and a deep voice, and then shoots into the sky to become the Star of Bethlehem. A sheep stomps on a large rock, thunder sounds, and two angels appear to shepherds and sheep, with firefly lights; one of the angels speaks in a deep voice. Lights like fireflies float around a man briefly as he prays.
 A goat gnaws on a pole and shows his tongue in close-up, several splinters sticking in it. Two fighting dogs toss a jerboa between them several times and one dog swallows it; the other dog orders the first dog to spit it out, which it finally does after an argument and the rodent runs away.
 A bird shakes its rear end into the camera lens several times and into the faces of two dogs and a donkey. We see a close-up of a donkey's hind quarters wiggling toward the camera twice.


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LANGUAGE 1 - 2 mild scatological references, 1 anatomical term, name-calling (good for nothing animals, good for nothing donkey, good for nothing bully, crazy, silly, rotten, dumb, useless, shack, mutt, nightmare in a helmet, knife-wielding psycho, evil shoe king), exclamations (oh my gosh, wow, whoa), 13 religious exclamations (The Holy Spirit Will Come Upon You, Unto You A Child Is Born Who Is Christ The Lord, His Name Is Jesus, Lord Jesus, Lord I Can't Do This, God Chose Us For A Reason).


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SUBSTANCE USE - A man in a house drinks from a goblet and a man at a wedding party drinks from a goblet (these may or may not be goblets of wine).


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Feeling worthy, making choices, find one's calling, patience, forgiveness, faith, the Nativity, Bible stories, angels, fear, courage, determination, loyalty, sacrifice, helping others, becoming a leader, redemption, friendship, love, trust.

MESSAGE - God's plans for us are not always easy. The Nativity will be remembered for thousands of years.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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