The Star parents guide

The Star Parent Guide

Although the animation takes plenty of artistic license with the original Bible account, the spirit of the story still shines through.

Overall B

The story of the first Christmas is told through the perspective of a donkey (voice of Steven Yeun) and some of his animal friends (some voiced by Tyler Perry, Kristin Chenoweth and Keegan-Michael Key). These characters attempt to keep Mary and Joseph (voices of Gina Rodriguez and Zachary Levi) safe as they travel to Bethlehem.

Release date November 17, 2017

Violence B+
Sexual Content A-
Profanity A
Substance Use A

Why is The Star rated PG? The MPAA rated The Star PG for some thematic elements.

Run Time: 86 minutes

Official Movie Site

Parent Movie Review

It a story that’s ages old, but is still worth retelling. The Star portrays the events leading up to the birth of Jesus Christ through colorful animation with a good dose of artistic flexibility… meaning the tale starts with a talking rodent.

Abby (voice of Kristin Chenoweth) is our “mouse on the wall” that allows us to meet young Mary (voice of Gina Rodriguez) when she is visited by an angel. When the young woman is told she will give birth to the Son of God, Mary is more than willing to accept the assignment… but there’s one small catch. How will she break the news to her husband-to-be Joseph (voice of Zachary Levi)?

Fortunately, within the context of this movie, everyone demonstrates great faith in Mary’s announcement, including her chosen man. His biggest concern is the capacity to live up to the responsibilities of being the father of Jesus. That’s when the next heavenly communication takes place, giving Joseph the assurance he’s up to the task.

Enough about the people. What about the animals? Definitely created to keep the attention of children, The Star‘s main attraction is Bo the donkey (voice of Steven Yeun). Desperate to escape his servitude for a miller, which means walking in circles to grind grain, Bo’s greatest desire is to provide transportation to a king. (Yes… you likely already know where this donkey is headed.) With help from his dove buddy Dave (voice of Keegan-Michael Key), he makes his way out of bondage and inadvertently ends up seeking refuge in Mary and Joseph’s backyard.

Of course, this adventure needs a bad guy and while King Herod (voice of Christopher Plummer) does make an appearance, his scriptural directive to eliminate the possibility of any baby surviving is toned down significantly. Instead, Herod’s violent intent is represented by a huge, bad looking dude dressed in armor who leads two viscous dogs, Thaddeus and Rufus (voices of Ving Rhames and Gabriel Iglesias). Thanks to the canines’ ability to communicate with the other animals (this is one of those setups where the animals and humans speak, but they can’t understand each other), an interrogation with that little mouse provides a lead for them to follow.

Although the biblical story’s sequence of events is somewhat shuffled and the Good Book’s narrative didn’t include three “wise” cracking camels (voices of Tracy Morgan, Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey) or other supportive farm animals (voice of Kelly Clarkson playing Leah the horse and Patricia Heaton giving voice to Edith the cow), the spirit of the occasion still shines through. And that may make this movie a worthwhile reminder of the “reason for the season”.

Directed by Timothy Reckart. Starring Gina Rodriguez, Zachary Levi, Steven Yeun, Kristin Chenoweth. Running time: 86 minutes. Theatrical release November 17, 2017. Updated

The Star
Rating & Content Info

Why is The Star rated PG? The Star is rated PG by the MPAA for some thematic elements.

Violence: Frequent slapstick antics. Animals are bound and/or leashed and used for labor. A menacing character, armed with a large knife and two aggressive dogs, is sent to track down innocent people with orders to kill them. Characters are in peril and occasionally engage in physical confrontations. One character falls from a cliff and is presumed dead.

Sexual Content: An unmarried woman is pregnant, which causes some concern for her finance. Mild potty humor is included.

Profanity: Mild name-calling.

Alcohol / Drug Use: None noted.

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More parents' guide for The Star after the break...

The Star Parents' Guide

How do you feel about the artistic license the filmmakers took with this story? Does the light-hearted humor make it feel more accessible for children, or does it trivialize sacred things?

News About "The Star"

You can read the story of the first Christmas in the Bible (Luke, Chapter 2).

Home Video

Related home video titles:

Two other animations review the story of the birth of Jesus Christ: Peanuts: A Charlie Brown Christmas and Veggie Tales: The Star of Christmas. A live action version can be seen in The Nativity Story.

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