Black Nativity 2013 PG CC

(146) IMDb 4.2/10
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Based on the Langston Hughes play, this beloved seasonal story to be adapted by Kasi Lemmons is set in present day Harlem.

Starring:
Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett
Runtime:
1 hour, 33 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Musical
Director Kasi Lemmons
Starring Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett
Supporting actors Jennifer Hudson, Tyrese Gibson, Jacob Latimore, Mary J. Blige, Nas, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Luke James, Grace Gibson, Rotimi, J. Mallory McCree, Henry Hunter Hall, Michael Dale, Doug Willen, Sorika Horng, Jason Samuels Smith, C. Kelly Wright, Braille Diaz, Roz Beauty
Studio Fox Searchlight
MPAA rating PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By THE MOVIE GUY on December 7, 2013
Format: DVD
This is the Christmas story of Langston Cobbs (Jacob Latimore). He lives in Baltimore with his mother (Jennifer Hudson) who has fallen on hard times. She sends her son to Harlem to live with her parents, the Rev. Cobb (Forest Whitaker) and his wife (Angela Bassett). Langston is focused on helping his mother save her home. He sees wealth in his grandparents home and his mother who needs so much. There are some family secrets Langston attempts to uncover as why his parents are separated and why his mom doesn't live at home.

The film is a musical with a range of songs from hip-hop to blues, to gospel. Langston was named for Langston Huges who wrote the original "Black Nativity." Jacob Latimore unfortunately opens with a voice cutter which I loathe, however Jennifer Hudson can really belt out a tune and hit those high notes. Her singing is worth the price of admission, I just wish they had written more for her. The film ended awkwardly as we learn the family secret which was anti-climatic as compared to Latimore's dream. Is it too late for a rewrite and produce an alternative ending for the DVD?

An African-American spiritual that is not for everyone.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jay B. Lane TOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 19, 2013
Format: DVD
"I would rather be a lamppost in Harlem than the Governor of Georgia." This is a famous quote from Langston Hughes (1902-1967), who was part of the Harlem Renaissance that began in the early 1920s. His classic play, "Black Nativity," appears on American stages each holiday season, so it's time an updated musical version is offered on film.

We have a fatherless boy sent by his destitute mother in Baltimore to stay with her estranged parents in Harlem until she finds a new job and another place to live. He is confused and angry; plus his backpack is stolen just minutes after he gets off the bus in New York City.

Here you see some of the cast:
* Jacob Latimore (Lots of TV) is Langston, bewildered by the rift between his mother and his grandfather. No one will tell him why they aren't speaking, so all he wants is to go back to Baltimore and try to help his mom.
* Forest Whitaker ("The Butler") is Langston's grandfather, the Reverend Cornell, a dedicated minister and loving husband, but inflexible where his daughter is concerned.
* Angela Bassett ("American Horror Story") is the lovely and wise Aretha Cobbs. Langston says, "I don't even know what I'm supposed to call you. Should I call you Grandma?"
* Jennifer Hudson ("Winnie Mandela") is Langston's single mother, out of options and desperate to protect her son, even though she will NOT accept any help from her family. That inflexible apple didn't fall very far from that inflexible tree....
* Vondie Curtis-Hall (Lots of TV) is the pawnbroker our young hero visits in a naďve attempt to raise money for his mother.
* Tyrese Gibson ("Fast Five") is a spooky guy who just seems to keep showing up in that Harlem neighborhood.
Read more ›
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Prai on January 4, 2014
Format: DVD
Heartwarming and moving. This movie is a cross cultural experience that will appeal to all ages. The music was uplifting and I told my family that we should make this movie an annual event much like Polar Express and Lampoons Christmas Vacation both of which are holiday staples and now Black Nativity will definitely be added to our Christmas family movie viewing..
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Saved4Real on April 29, 2014
Format: DVD
This movie is a must-see! Yes, it's a musical, but it's very heart-touching and relevant. I cried throughout the movie, as I saw a lot that I could relate to, on a personal level. Everyone did a fine job acting as their character and the vocals are powerful, especially Jennifer Hudson's. Beautiful and inspirational story!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By gye nyame on December 7, 2014
Format: DVD
Phenomenal Christmas Musical!!! My entire family ages 59-11 years old enjoyed this movie. Watching musicals are a rarity in my house, but this one is being added to our Christmas movie collection along with 'This Christmas and Best Man Holiday!!!' The acting and singing was awesome and a movie very well made. It consisted of the right amount of dialogue and singing. Some musicals can weigh you down with too much singing occurring in every scene, but this movie is perfect!!! Very inspirational movie that delivers a positive message!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Zelly on May 4, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
Good story! I was so emotional at the end of the movie, I really love the movie and the characters. 😘
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Linda D. Alexander on May 27, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Musicals have lost their place in American cinema for many reasons. So to be able to cast a story in music and retain audience interest and attention these days is an awesome accomplishment. The cast is superb and the veterans actors stimulate the performances of the more novice performers. Saadiq's musical arrangements and compositions are stellar and the performances demand respect.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ranny Levy on December 5, 2014
Format: DVD
This is truly an inspirational film and a joy to watch.

Langston, played by Jacob Latimore, has to spend the Christmas holiday in New York City with his grandparents, Reverend Cornell Cobbs played by Forest Whitaker and Aretha Cobbs played by Angela Bassett, who he doesn't really know. While there, he has to go by their rules. He wants to get back home to his mother Naima played by Jennifer Hudson. He goes through some things and discovers the true meaning of faith, family and forgiveness.

This adaptation of Langston Hughes' play is wonderful. I really like the storyline with its great messages and its attention to detail, even down to the Cobb's family brownstone in Harlem. The acting is powerful and intense and, of course, I love the music. Executive music director, Ralph Saadiq shows his musical talent and has created great songs that tell the story in such a way that both the young and old can listen to and enjoy. I especially like the choir scene.

I recommend this film for ages 12 - 17. Of course, I think the whole family will enjoy this movie. I give it 5 out of 5 stars. It's truly a musical event to be enjoyed during the holiday season.

Reviewed by Brianna B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. For more youth reviews, go to kidsfirst dot org.
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