Critic Reviews

59

Metascore

Based on 10 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
85
According to Hava Nagila: The Movie, an infectiously high-spirited new documentary by Roberta Grossman, the most cornball song in the Jewish repertoire has a colorful history that has carried Ashkenazi Jews through the joy and sorrow of 150 years of being thrown around the world.
80
It's a fun, nostalgic, informative journey. Aided by vivid archival footage and photos, the movie charts the evolution of the song through the Holocaust, the birth of Israel and the modern Jewish Diaspora.
75
Roberta Grossman's cute documentary gives weight to the tune, tracing its lineage to a town - Sadagora, in the Ukraine - and the 19th century. It bubbled to life as a “Nigun,” a wordless hymn or prayer, more hummed than sung.
75
Hava Nagila (The Movie) guarantees that the next time you hear the song at a party, you won't think of it quite the same way. Of course, that won't slow anyone rushing to the dance floor.
75
A slight, but very satisfying, and at times, surprisingly moving, documentary.
70
The New York Times
The interviews are mostly good and instructive, but the well-chosen historical footage is better.
60
While the filmmakers never quite make the case that their chosen melody deserves its own full-length film, they do ensure that you'll leave the theater happily humming it.
50
By the movie's end, the party guests may be ready to dance the hora - or they may find themselves sitting this one out. “Hava” will have its revenge, however: It's still stuck in my head.
38
The documentary can at times feel like you're wasting your time on a subject you might wish you had only accidentally crossed paths with briefly on Wikipedia.
20
Patronizing from toe to chin, the film opts continually for self-congratulation and cheesy aphorism, and could've-should've been comfortable slotted into a half hour of airtime on TJC.

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