Black Nativity

Watch Black Nativity

"The Musical Event of the Holiday Season"
  • PG
  • 2013
  • 1 hr 33 min
  • 4.8  (2,371)
  • 48

Black Nativity is a musical film released in 2013 starring Oscar-winning actor Forest Whitaker, veteran actress Angela Bassett, and Grammy-winning singer Jennifer Hudson. The movie is directed by Kasi Lemmons, who also co-wrote the screenplay along with Langston Hughes, based on his 1961 play of the same name. The film is a heartwarming tale of family and faith that revolves around a young African-American teenager named Langston, who embarks on a spiritual journey to reconnect with his estranged grandparents during the holiday season.

The movie opens with a scene showcasing Langston's tough life situation, living with his mother Naima in Baltimore's struggling inner-city. Naima is a single mother who has to work long hours at a diner to support her son. The two are facing eviction from their apartment, and Langston's frustration and anger are mounting. When Langston receives a letter from his grandparents, Reverend Cornell and Aretha Cobbs, inviting him to spend Christmas with them in New York, he is initially reluctant but eventually decides to take up the offer to escape his troubles.

Langston's journey to New York is eventful, as he ends up on a bus with strangers who are also on their way to the city. When he reaches New York, he finds it difficult to adjust to his grandparents' strict religious household, very different from the life he knew back home. The Reverend, played by Forest Whitaker, is an unyielding and stern man who demands reverence from everyone and everything around him, including Langston. Meanwhile, Aretha, played by Angela Bassett, is a more loving and welcoming figure who tries to bridge the gap between Langston and his grandfather.

The story unfolds against the backdrop of the church's annual Black Nativity pageant, which is being rehearsed for Christmas Eve. Langston joins the rehearsals, and Jennifer Hudson's character, Naima, is also introduced as a member of the choir. The music is central to the story, and the scenes featuring Gospel performances are soul-stirring and uplifting. The performances are a perfect blend of traditional carols and contemporary Gospel music and make for a beautiful soundtrack to the movie.

Langston is conflicted about his faith, and his disconnection with his grandparents is further complicated by his search for his father, who left him and his mother when Langston was a child. The mystery surrounding his father's identity is a subplot that adds depth to the movie's storyline. Langston's journey through his doubts and struggles are an inspiring and moving portrayal of the spiritual growth of the character. The film, at its core, is a family drama, and the dynamics between the characters, especially the relationship between Langston and his grandparents, is the highlight of the movie.

The performances by the cast are fantastic, and the chemistry between them feels authentic. Forest Whitaker's portrayal of the Reverend is nuanced and powerful, and he gives a compelling performance as a man driven by his faith. Angela Bassett's Aretha is a beautiful portrayal of a loving and caring grandmother who is torn between her loyalty to her husband and her desire to reconnect with her estranged grandson. Jennifer Hudson's role may be small, but she makes the most of the opportunity and delivers an outstanding performance with her soulful singing voice.

Black Nativity is a visually stunning film with beautiful cinematography, especially the shots of New York City during the holiday season that captures the festive mood perfectly. The film manages to balance the spiritual and the secular, creating a movie that feels both religious and relatable. The themes of faith, forgiveness, and family make for a wholesome and inspiring story that will appeal to audiences of all ages.

Overall, Black Nativity is a beautiful and uplifting movie that offers a unique perspective on the Christmas story while remaining true to its African American roots. The movie is a celebration of faith, music, and family that will leave viewers feeling inspired and uplifted. It is a must-see for anyone who enjoys musicals, family dramas, or just a heartwarming holiday story.

Black Nativity is a 2013 music movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 33 minutes. It has received mostly poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 4.8 and a MetaScore of 48.

Black Nativity
Where to Watch Black Nativity
Black Nativity is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Black Nativity for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 33 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    4.8  (2,371)
  • Metascore