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Black Nativity

Where to Watch Black Nativity


Black Nativity (2013) is a captivating and emotionally charged family drama that takes viewers on a journey of forgiveness, redemption, and the power of boundless love. Directed by notable African American filmmaker, Kasi Lemmons, it takes inspiration from the play of the same name by Langston Hughes, combined with an infusion of gospel music, song, and dance.

The foreground of the story follows the life of Langston, a poignant teenager played by Jacob Latimore, as he navigates life amidst adversity. The story begins with Langston and his mother Naima, played by Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson, who is struggling to make ends meet in Baltimore. Economically troubled, Naima decides to send Langston to New York City to spend the holiday with his estranged grandparents – Reverend Cornell and Aretha Cobbs, played by Academy Award winners Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett respectively.

Arriving in the bustling city of New York, Langston finds himself grappling with the new environment, while also trying to comprehend the cool reception he receives from his grandparents, especially his strict reverend grandfather. Faced with his grandparents' stringent rules and a lifestyle entirely opposite to his usual way of life, Langstown becomes unsettled, rebellious, and resentful. The escalating tension forms one of the crucial components of the narrative, transforming the film into a stirring exploration of family estrangement.

While the strained relationship forms the crux of the movie, Black Nativity does not confine itself just to that. It advances to offer up several themes including the importance of family, reconciliation, hope, faith, and the spirit of Christmas, wrapped in the form of a musical. Music plays a tremendous role in the film, with stirring and soulful renditions from the cast. The powerful voices of Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, and Jennifer Hudson leave a lasting impression, blending gospel, R&B, and traditional Christmas carols together to startling effect.

The narrative of Black Nativity draws heavily from its theatrical roots, with theatrical-style flashbacks, dream sequences, and dialogues transformed into song lyrics, making it a unique endeavor that efficiently brings together elements of theatre and cinema. While the film is centred around the Christmas season, it moves beyond the usual feel-good holiday themes, delving deeper into the challenges and reality of life.

The movie digs deep into the characters' emotional predicaments. The director successfully paints a convincing picture of each character, revealing their struggles, their strengths, and their quest for redemption. The engaging acting performances add another layer to the film’s portrayal of complex and multifaceted relationships, fundamentally rooted in love and faith. Jacob Latimore’s outstanding performance as Langston is notable, providing a nuanced depiction of a young man caught between resentment, confusion, and longing for family bonding.

The jazzy nocturnal ambiance of the Harlem setting adds another layer of richness to Black Nativity. The cinematography brilliantly captures the beauty and grittiness of city life, making every frame visually striking. The production design that features a grand, traditional church, bustling streets of New York, modest Baltimore apartments, and dreamy, surreal sequences offer a visual treat, enhancing the film’s compelling storytelling.

Black Nativity is by no means a conventional holiday movie. It pushes boundaries and goes beyond with its daring and rich interpretations of the classic play, its emotionally resonant song sequences, and its exploration of family ties and social issues. The film is a spiritual journey that shines a light on the incredible power of faith, forgiveness, and love that can conquer life's hardships. It promises to tug at your heartstrings, make you think, and maybe even sing along.

The story is multi-dimensional, reflecting the complexity of life and inherent human struggles, while simultaneously providing a sense of hope that resonates with the overarching theme of Christmas – the spirit of unflinching belief and optimism.

In conclusion, Black Nativity is not only a film; it's an emotive spectacle of a family's strife, struggle, and ultimate redemption, steeped in a soul-stirring blend of gospel music. It is a film worth watching, especially for those seeking a holiday film with a depth, heart, and considerable flair. The strong performances, powerful narrative, and the rich musical sequences make Black Nativity a distinctly poignant viewing experience.

Black Nativity is a Music, Drama movie released in 2013. It has a runtime of 93 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it mostly poor reviews, with an IMDb score of 4.8. It also holds a MetaScore of 48.

How to Watch Black Nativity

Where can I stream Black Nativity movie online? Black Nativity is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Black Nativity for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

Kasi Lemmons
Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Tyrese Gibson, Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Nas, Jacob Latimore
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