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Black Nativity Reviews

Black Nativity


Genre :

Drama, Family

Release Date :

November 27, 2013 (Limited)

MPAA Rating :


Director :

Kasi Lemmons

Starring :

Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Jennifer Hudson, Jacob Latimore, Tyrese Gibson, Rotimi, Mary J. Blige, Nas, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Luke James

REVIEWS RATE:  Critics  Nothing's perfect, but it's worth seeing.    Readers  Be the 1st!

“..the movie - seemed like such a good idea. But it struggles mightily. You can feel it..”
by Betsy Sharkey [LA Times]
2 of 5

“..the entire movie feels like a Nativity pageant, with heavily symbolic characters and equally evident spiritual messages..”
by Elizabeth Weitzman [NY Daily News]
2 of 4

“..soundtrack will be a welcome addition to a Christmas playlist, especially the assembled choir's roof-raising final number, Stevie Wonder's classic "As." It can't erase the bad vibes from the script, but it guarantees you'll leave the theatre smiling..”
by Linda Barnard [Toronto Star]
2.5 of 4

“..rousing musical numbers and a well-meaning, if predictable, story, marked by unlikely coincidences. Climactic revelations take place during a church service, something not often seen in Hollywood studio movies..”
by Claudia Puig [USA Today]
“..miscalculates by planting this African-American interpretation of the nativity story at the center of an angsty troubled-teen melodrama that, from mean-streets prologue to Christmas Eve climax, simply fails to inspire belief..”
by Justin Chang [Variety]
Review rate : B

“..looks a bit like a local holiday pageant featuring the best talent imaginable set on screen. It's both unique and completely appropriate..”
by Tom Long [Detroit News]
2 of 4

“..Kasi Lemmons's adaptation is a double disservice: Needlessly expanding on a simple but sensible conceit, the resulting film is both sickly sweet and about as exciting as squirming in a church pew while the most monotonous of ministers holds forth..”
by David Berry [The Montreal Gazette]
3 of 4

“..it's a sweet-natured tale that goes down smoothly, and Lemmons ("Eve's Bayou") has done an admirable job of putting a contemporary spin on the beloved Hughes seasonal favorite from the '60s..”
by Randy Myers [San Jose Mercury News]
“..is a just-OK feature film that, as an hour-long television special, could have had the makings of a classic..”
by Mick LaSalle [San Francisco Chronicle]
“..a first-rate cast enlivens this ambitious but syrupy holiday musical..”
by Stephen Farber [Hollywood Reporter]
Reviewed by Manohla Dargis [NY Times]

Reader's Reviews

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“..this is one of those movies that's not very good but not so offensively bad that I regret ever seeing it. No doubt, it's also something I probably won't remember in a week..”
by Brian Oliver [The Movieman]


“..like a counterfeit handbag: It looks great but falls apart when you reach into it..”
by Rafer Guzman [Newsday]


“..thoroughly predictable, and despite an original setup, the movie never rouses the emotions..”
by Marjorie Baumgarten [Austin Chronicle]


“..the stories are horrifying, but essential to hear..”
by Joe Neumaier [NY Daily News]


“..a horror movie with an anti-globalist bent that's more interesting than its halfhearted scares..”
by Sara Stewart [New York Post]


“..delivering a highly stylized widescreen revenge picture loaded with weapons and driven entirely by "superficial action"..”
by Peter Debruge [Variety]


“..the film isn't particularly convincing either as a rousing anthology of bloodsport set pieces or a deeply felt portrait of revenge and reunion..”
by Vadim Rizov [A.V. Club]

'71 :

“..the hard-charging debut feature from TV director Yann Demange, makes us live every vivid, violent moment with him, the threat of death lurking at every turn..”
by Peter Travers [Rolling Stone]


“..undoubtedly a remarkable achievement, especially for a first-time filmmaker..”
by Jordan Hoffman [Film.com]


“..still, "The Lazarus Effect," clocking in at a brief 86 minutes, doesn't go far enough, isn't scary enough and has mad scientists who just aren't mad enough..”
by Joe Neumaier [NY Daily News]