Metascore
59

Mixed or average reviews - based on 10 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 10
  2. Negative: 2 out of 10
  1. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    Mar 1, 2013
    85
    According to Hava Nagila: The Movie, an infectiously high-spirited new documentary by Roberta Grossman, the most cornball song in the Jewish repertoire has a colorful history that has carried Ashkenazi Jews through the joy and sorrow of 150 years of being thrown around the world.
  2. Reviewed by: Gary Goldstein
    Mar 14, 2013
    80
    It's a fun, nostalgic, informative journey. Aided by vivid archival footage and photos, the movie charts the evolution of the song through the Holocaust, the birth of Israel and the modern Jewish Diaspora.
  3. Reviewed by: Donald Liebenson
    Jun 11, 2013
    75
    A slight, but very satisfying, and at times, surprisingly moving, documentary.
  4. Reviewed by: Loren King
    Apr 25, 2013
    75
    Hava Nagila (The Movie) guarantees that the next time you hear the song at a party, you won’t think of it quite the same way. Of course, that won’t slow anyone rushing to the dance floor.
  5. 75
    Roberta Grossman’s cute documentary gives weight to the tune, tracing its lineage to a town – Sadagora, in the Ukraine – and the 19th century. It bubbled to life as a “Nigun,” a wordless hymn or prayer, more hummed than sung.
  6. Reviewed by: Rachel Saltz
    Feb 28, 2013
    70
    The interviews are mostly good and instructive, but the well-chosen historical footage is better.
  7. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Feb 28, 2013
    60
    While the filmmakers never quite make the case that their chosen melody deserves its own full-length film, they do ensure that you’ll leave the theater happily humming it.
  8. Reviewed by: Farran Smith Nehme
    Feb 28, 2013
    50
    By the movie’s end, the party guests may be ready to dance the hora — or they may find themselves sitting this one out. “Hava” will have its revenge, however: It’s still stuck in my head.
  9. Reviewed by: Kalvin Henely
    Feb 26, 2013
    38
    The documentary can at times feel like you're wasting your time on a subject you might wish you had only accidentally crossed paths with briefly on Wikipedia.
  10. Reviewed by: Michael Atkinson
    Feb 26, 2013
    20
    Patronizing from toe to chin, the film opts continually for self-congratulation and cheesy aphorism, and could've-should've been comfortable slotted into a half hour of airtime on TJC.

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