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Film / The Flint Street Nativity

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The Flint Street Nativity is a British TV film directed by Marcus Mortimer which was shown on ITV on 22 December 1999. It was eventually made into a stage play in 2006.

The students of Flint Street Primary School are preparing to put on a Nativity play. Of course, with this being a comedy film and all, Hilarity Ensues.

This film provides examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Christian seems to be this to Debbie.
  • Abusive Parents: Not physically but Adrian (who has a lisp) mentions several times that he can't be in the "special unit" because his parents have told him not to be - going so far as to give himself a panic attack because of his lisp - and when we finally meet his father, he's very dismissive of Adrian's brother (who is in the special unit) who is apparently dyslexic.
  • Adults Are Useless: Not necessarily useless but the running theme of the film is that none of the children have necessarily happy or even healthy home lives. When we meet the parents at the end, it's clear most of the children have been mirroring the worst of their behaviours.
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  • Bad "Bad Acting": The nativity itself. It's just as wooden, stilted and under-rehearsed as an actual nativity by seven-year-olds.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Averted. Jaye (Angel Gabriel) is stated a few times to be prettier than Debbie (Mary), but she's an obnoxious bully.
  • Berserk Button: For Adrian, saying he's in the special unit.
  • Blatant Lies: Several times, as befitting a cast of small children. In the first five minutes, Clive (the Star) indicates that someone else is responsible for putting a clay model of Jesus in the iguana cage...even when everyone else says it was him.
  • Break the Cutie: Some of the children (and parents) appear to have already experienced elements of this. During the film, Tim (the Narrator) and Adrian each go through this.
  • Brick Joke: While explaining to Debbie what happens during an actual birth Zoe (who's clearly drawing her information from watching a cow give birth on her Dad's farm) tells her that "you moo a lot". Later, during the play, when Debbie places the baby Jesus in the manger she lets out a quiet "moo".
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  • Broken Pedestal: Tim spends the entire film talking about how he wants to impress his dad...then ends up in tears when not only is his father not there, but his mother is at the show with another man. He doesn't realise his parents are divorced. Fortunately, his father was stood at the back, and later asks Debbie's mother to tell him that he saw the whole thing and that he was great. Jaye also becomes this to both Dawn and Shamima.
  • The Bully: Jaye, the 2nd wise man, and Christian (the Innkeeper).
  • Butt-Monkey: Clive to a certain extent.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Several, including the shepherds' torch, Michael Owen the iguana, and the broken plug sockets.
  • Children Are Innocent: Zig-zagged. The children spend most of the time discussing, recreating and repeating things they've witnessed at home or on TV - most of which absolutely isn't innocent - but the children themselves are too innocent to truly understand the implications.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Ian Rotherham (Herod) is obessed with A Question of Sport and spends almost all of his screentime acting out episodes of the show while the other kids are preparing for the play.
  • Daddy Didn't Show: Zig-Zagged Trope. Tim is devastated when it looks like his father didn't show up. In the epilogue it turns out that his father did come but hid at the back, presumably to avoid his ex-wife.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Invoked with Shamima (2nd Angel). She uses racial slurs against her (absent) classmate and her neighbours, but it's made clear she's merely repeating the language used by her family.
  • Downer Ending: YMMV on the extent, but it's certainly a very melancholy ending. All the children have, in their own ways, fairly bleak lives and their parents all have their issues as well. And nothing is any better for them by the end.
  • Foreshadowing: Clive's obsession with his "uncle" and the space suit.
  • Half-Hearted Henchman: Shamima and Dawn (1st Wise Man) act as this to Jaye until they get fed up and decide to just be friends with each other.
  • Heel Realisation: Jaye seems to be having one by the end.
  • Hidden Depths: Christian first seems to be a bully who rips out a classmate's tooth when he's told that he'll get money for it...but ultimately, he's just got a crush on Debbie and wanted her to get the money.
  • Honorary Uncle: Clive's dad mentions that the "uncle" he's been fawning over is actually "an old college friend of my wife's". Jaye's mother assumes this means an ex-boyfriend.
  • Implausible Deniability: Again, the very beginning with Clive denying he put the clay Jesus in with the iguana.
  • Innocently Insensitive: All the kids have moments of this.
  • Large Ham: All the kids have their moments, though Ian (Herod) takes the cake.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Mrs Humphries is implied to have started drinking after Jaye crashes the play as a second Mary. There's a clinking of a glass and Clive saying "My dad drinks that!"
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Averted.
  • Karma Houdini: As far as we know, the 2nd Wise Man never faces any consequences for daring people to do things that arguably led to the catastrophe at the end of the nativity.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Jaye displays this the most, though the 2nd Wise Man's incessant teasing of Adrian could also qualify.
  • Mondegreen Gag: Zoe thinks the lyrics to "Silent Night" include the line "Round John Verger" instead of "Round yon virgin". She convinces Debbie to sing the wrong lyrics during the play.
  • Mood Whiplash: Andrew (the Donkey)'s attempts to get Adrian to go back inside out of the rain flips very quickly between comedy and tearjerker as it's revealed that Andrew believes the reason you shouldn't make people cry is because they'll self-harm, referencing his mother.
  • Oh, Crap!: Some of the kids, especially Debbie and Tim, display this reaction whenever something goes wrong during the nativity.
  • Parental Abandonment: A running theme - not necessarily "abandonment" but it's clear that the parents aren't there for their children as much as they should be.
  • Potty Failure: Andrew experiences this during the play, after several minutes of Potty Dance. Mrs Humphries gently escorts him off the stage to change his trousers.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Jaye and Debbie
  • Running Away to Cry: Adrian, Shamima and Christian all do this at some point. Tim probably would if he wasn't supposed to be narrating the nativity at the time.
  • School Play: The traditional British Nativity play and all the behind the scenes drama.
  • Shout-Out: Plenty with regards to sport: aside from the iguana being named Michael Owen, Ian's favourite activity is recreating episodes of Question Of Sport and name-dropping sports stars.
  • Small, Secluded World: The film takes place in three rooms of a primary school in a small neighbourhood.
  • Team Mom: Debbie is probably the most responsible of all the children. Unfortunately, she's still just a 7 year-old.
  • Title Drop: The nativity performance begins with one.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour: All the children to some extent.
  • True Companions: Zig-zagged. The children fight and argue and pick on each other a lot, but it's clear that most of them are quite good friends.
  • The Voice: Mrs Humphries, the children's teacher, is never seen on-screen even during the epilogue with the parents. The camera rises above the children to simulate her POV.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: The kids all attempt to come off as this but fail miserably. Zoe (2nd Shepherd) comes the closest, but she still gets a lot wrong.