Dallas Jenkins Calls JOURNEY TO BETHLEHEM ‘Fantastic,’ ‘Unique’
By Movieguide® Contributor
THE CHOSEN creator, Dallas Jenkins, is encouraging people to see JOURNEY TO BETHLEHEM, a new movie musical about the birth of Christ.
“I have to be honest, I was a little skeptical,” Jenkins admitted, pointing to the musical aspect. “But I finally got the chance to see it, and here’s why it’s important that you see this movie, and particularly that you see it in theaters.”
He explained, “We need the ability to cover these beautiful stories in multiple ways. It seems like everyone else gets to cover all the different stories — historical, fiction, or otherwise — in multiple formats: musicals, dramas, comedies, horror films, whatever. And we sometimes limit ourselves to just playing it safe [and] doing the most natural, obvious thing.”
Jenkins also addressed those who might be unsure about a musical that might be “disrespectful” to the story.
“That’s not what you’re going to get with this movie,” he said. “The music is fantastic. It’s so fun, it’s so interesting. The actors who play Mary and Joseph are fantastic, both as actors and singers.”
He continued, “It’s clear that the filmmakers love Jesus. They love the story. They love the Bible. They’re trying something unique here, and it works.”
Jenkins also emphasized how “important” it is for filmmakers to “take chances with [Biblical stories] in a reverent way and a respectful way and know that it’s going to work. These things need to be successful so that we can do more.”
Critics and audiences agree with Jenkins’ praise, with Variety calling JOURNEY TO BETHLEHEM “first and foremost a family movie.”
Adam Anders, the movie’s director, told Movieguide® why he wanted the musical to be something the whole family could enjoy.
“I really wanted to make a movie for the entire family that was a celebration and colorful and vibrant and fun, because so many biblical movies are more somber, people don’t smile…I don’t want that,” he told Movieguide®. “I want it to be my story book Bible as a kid come to life, so kids will be engaged the whole time and lean in and want to watch this over and over again and see what Christmas is about.”
The movie has already made over $3 million at the box office, per Box Office Mojo.
JOURNEY TO BETHLEHEM is a great musical with lots of jeopardy and some funny comic relief to lighten the mood. The songs are really good, and so are the performances. Although this is a musical version of the Nativity Story, the filmmakers treat the birth of Jesus with the proper reverence it deserves. The script and song lyrics refer to Jesus as Lord, the Son of God, the Messiah, King of all kings, Immanuel, and “God with us.” JOURNEY TO BETHLEHEM is one of the most enjoyable, uplifting movies of 2023.