Black Nativity

Jacob Latimore in Black Nativity. (Maven Pictures)
Jacob Latimore in Black Nativity. (Maven Pictures)
What it's about:

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 (Jennifer Hudson), 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. Langston embarks on a surprising and inspirational journey and along with new friends, and a little divine intervention, he discovers the true meaning of faith, forgiveness and family.

What the critics thought:

This story of seasonal healing ultimately feels too predictable and heavy-handed to bring much uplifting Christmas cheer.
- Todd Jorgenson,

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

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

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
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