4.4/10
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16 user 42 critic

Black Nativity (2013)

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A street-wise teen from Baltimore who has been raised by a single mother travels to New York City to spend the Christmas holiday with his estranged relatives, where he embarks on a surprising and inspirational journey.

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(based on the play by), (written for the screen by)
2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Street Prophet (Isaiah) (as Nasir Jones)
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Pawnbroker (as Vondie Curtis Hall)
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Grace Gibson ...
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Officer Butch McDaniels
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Kyle
Henry Hunter Hall ...
Snoopy (as H. Hunter Hall)
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Innkeeper
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Chic Man
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Storyline

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 his new friends, and a little divine intervention, he discovers the true meaning of faith, healing, and family. Written by Fox Searchlight

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Family | Music | Musical

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic material, language and a menacing situation. | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

27 November 2013 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Black Nativity - Um Espectáculo de Natal  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$17,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$3,669,530 (USA) (1 December 2013)

Gross:

$7,017,178 (USA) (10 January 2014)
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2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is Angela Bassett and Forest Whitaker's second collaboration. Their first was "Waiting to Exhale" (1995), which Whitaker directed and in which Bassett starred. See more »

Connections

Featured in Chelsea Lately: Episode #7.179 (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

He Loves Me Still
Written by Raphael Saadiq, Taura Stinson and Darien Dorsey
Performed by Angela Bassett and Jennifer Hudson
Arranged by Raphael Saadiq and Taura Stinson
Additional Vocal Production by Taura Stinson, Harvey Mason Jr. and Ms. Mone't Owens (as Monet Owens)
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User Reviews

 
Worth a Look if you like Musicals
29 November 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Going in I knew this was a movie with music and that's what it is, versus a "musical" like Les Miserables, where there's singing throughout opera-style.

The good

All the actors stand out and do their characterizations well. Especially Jennifer Hundson as Naima, the single mom raising a boy-child on her own without help and estranged from her parents. Especially Tyrese who really shows his gentle side as Tyson. His body and face marked with scars, he looks like a thug but has a worldly view as he tries to steer young Langston to the right side of life. Especially Forrest Whitaker who characterizes the Reverend Cobb. Stern, unyielding but with a soft side. Especially the music that soars and transforms the screen into a gospel show near the end. Director Kasi Lemmons ("Eve's Bayou") integrates stage show with movie set ala "Rent". The story of a young boy struggling to find answers and being pulled toward wrongful ways is simplified and strikes just the right tone with spirituality and religiousness.

The bad

Near the end the drama is laid on thick.

See it! This is the only "live" action musical of the year and while it is based on a little known play written by Langston Hughes, it's a triumphant interpretation on film.


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