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.
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
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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