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48

Mixed or average reviews - based on 29 Critics What's this?

User Score
5.9

Mixed or average reviews- based on 7 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , , , , , ,
  • Summary: Langston, a street-wise teen from Baltimore raised by a single mother, travels to New York City to spend the Christmas holiday with his estranged relatives Reverend Cornell and Aretha Cobbs. Unwilling to live by the imposing Reverend Cobbs' rules, a frustrated Langston is determined to return home to his mother, Naima. Langston embarks on a surprising and inspirational journey and along with his new friends, and a little divine intervention, he discovers the true meaning of faith, healing, and family. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 29
  2. Negative: 4 out of 29
  1. Reviewed by: Mary Houlihan
    Nov 26, 2013
    75
    Lemmons and her cast, aided by some great music, have created an interlude sure to lift the spirit during the holiday season.
  2. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Nov 26, 2013
    63
    Whitaker's performance is the rock here. Even when the confrontations and evasions get a little ridiculous, he's neither wholly saint nor sinner, but something like a human being.
  3. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Nov 27, 2013
    63
    Black Nativity offers a whopping serving of Yuletide emotion. And it's a musical - with plenty of wailing and rapping on the side.
  4. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Nov 25, 2013
    60
    Lemmons advances this story with straight-faced conviction, orchestrating narrative and spectacle with a grandiosity that proves easier to admire from a distance than it is to engage with onscreen.
  5. Reviewed by: Kevin C. Johnson
    Nov 26, 2013
    50
    Count Black Nativity as a more noble than notable effort.
  6. Reviewed by: Eric Henderson
    Nov 25, 2013
    50
    For anyone who prefers their assertive homilies to crust over like a syrupy sweet, this loose adaptation of Langston Hughes's beloved holiday tradition will come on like a dream fulfilled.
  7. Reviewed by: Tim Robey
    Dec 5, 2013
    20
    It’s a misguided enterprise all round, and while it’s perfectly possible to applaud everything the film wants to say, you find yourself cringing at the ways it’s saying it.

See all 29 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 1 out of 2
  1. Nov 27, 2013
    7
    That sentiment pretty much sums up Black Nativity: ungainly in execution, yet still infused with enough passion and reverence for Hughes’ original work to be more success than failure. Moviegoers looking for seasonal entertainment that is accessible and family-friendly (without also being treacly and/or bland) this is a Christmas show that you might want to check out. Expand
  2. Dec 9, 2013
    3
    This was low B grade movie. There were stellar performances from Vondie Curtis Hall, Tyrese Gibson, Luke James, Grace Gibson and Mary J. Blige. Otherwise the sentimentality at times became so cloying and contrived. Jennifer Hudson made merely cameo appearances in the movie and howled violently through all her singing lines. Some guys down in the front row began to openly mock her which caused other movie goers to let out a few chuckles they had been holding in. The kids I took with me were enjoying it so I stayed for the whole movie but wanted to leave. I was curious how they would weave Langston Hughes's Black Nativity story into the movie itself but it was barely spoken about except for a brief showing mid movie. Overall I got the impression that this movie was merely a vehicle for Jacob Latimore who sang his parts very well. I found it hard to empathise with his character though. I kept hoping that he'd get caught, shot or arrested so that we could finally get past his dredged up problems to the Nativity. Expand

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