Black Nativity
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In a contemporary adaptation of Langston Hughes' celebrated play, the holiday musical drama BLACK NATIVITY follows Langston (Jacob Latimore), a street-wise teen from Baltimore raised by a single mother, as he journeys to New York City to spend the Christmas holiday with his estranged relatives Reverend Cornell and Aretha Cobbs (Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett). Unwilling to live by the imposing Reverend Cobbs' rules, a frustrated Langston is determined to return home to his mother, Naima (Jennifer Hudson). Langston embarks on a surprising and inspirational journey and along with new… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 49%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"By the time the credits rolled, my eyes were sore from all the rolling."
‑ Calum Marsh, Village Voice
"Its pastoral ambitions compensate for its lack of finesse."
‑ Eric D. Snider,
"Defiantly simple, like earlier stage pageants based on Langston Hughes' Christmas play, Kasi Lemmons' "Black Nativity" gains power through its directness."
‑ Ray Pride, Newcity
"All of Black Nativity proceeds with sort of clumsy obviousness."
‑ Wesley Morris, Grantland
"Hudson's singing and Whitaker's acting compensate somewhat, but for a truly inventive and uplifting African-American piece set in New York during the Yuletide season, skip Black Nativity and watch Run-DMC's "Christmas in Hollis" music video instead."
‑ Matt Brunson, Creative Loafing
"Even the movie's most wretched characters glow in the Harlem lamplight."
‑ Mark Jenkins, NPR
"By the time the film reaches its biblically inspired dreamscape of a climax, "Black Nativity" qualifies as equal parts surreal and stirring."
‑ Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
"Jennifer Hudson sings like an angel but the movie is not up to that level storywise."
‑ Jackie K. Cooper,
"To my eyes, Black Nativity is the cinematic equivalent of a Christmas tree ornament: shiny, hollow, sheathed in decorative, artificial linings, mass-produced and, given the cost of today's movie theater tickets, overpriced."
‑ Max Nelson, Film Comment Magazine
"An inept, often ludicrous, take on Langston Hughes' 1961 musical-play."
‑ Charlotte O'Sullivan, This is London
"Takes Hughes' nativity story and shoves it into the far background of a sincere but tritely told modern drama about family, faith, and redemption."
‑ Ty Burr, Boston Globe
"Kasi Lemmons' contemporary adaptation is an uplifting holiday extravaganza with a musical score filled with familiar spiritual standards plus some new songs by Raphael Saadiq and Laura Karpman that underscore themes of faith, healing and family."
‑ Mary Houlihan, Chicago Sun-Times
"This story of seasonal healing ultimately feels too predictable and heavy-handed to bring much uplifting Christmas cheer."
‑ Todd Jorgenson,
"You'd have to be pretty full of seasonal humbug to resist this ..."
‑ Mark Kermode, Observer [UK]
"Whitaker's performance is one of only a few positives, as a film that ends on such an illusory, elaborate and downright absurd finale."
‑ Stefan Pape, HeyUGuys
More reviews for Black Nativity on Rotten Tomatoes