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) (29 November 2013)

Gross:

$7,017,178 (USA) (10 January 2014)
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Company Credits

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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

Silent Night
Music by Franz Gruber (as Franz Xaver Gruber) and lyrics by Joseph Mohr
Performed by Grace Gibson and Luke James
Arranged by Raphael Saadiq
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User Reviews

 
Came out better than I thought at first
5 May 2015 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

Some critiques of this movie paint it as too cheesy or clichéd. It is those things. But the screenwriter was kind of between a rock and a hard place, as one often is in transcribing the work for one medium into another. It wasn't written as a screenplay, but the screenwriters had to walk the line between a full adaptation to film on the one hand, and staying as true as possible to Langston Hughes's vision on the other. It's a little rough in parts, and any time someone is singing in a bus station you gotta look at them askance... but still, the conveyance of the story, and the coming together of this family, in this very evangelical style (totally agreeing with Roger Ebert here), along with the star performances of these actors and singers, ensures that "its rough aspects are easy to forgive."

Not a great, great film, as films go. But for a theatrical adaptation of a play on screen, with music, and a voyage/story that speaks to many... Very much worth dedicating 90 minutes to.


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