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Family Movie Review: Black Nativity (PG)

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MPAA Rating: PG        Length: 93 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 10+. “Black Nativity” is very much an African-American church movie, with an extremely strong religious focus; if you’re not Christian, this film isn’t meant for you. Also some occasional cursing, the (clichéd) danger of New York City, and some criminal behavior that is ultimately rejected by our protagonist.

‘Black Nativity’ tries mighty hard to bring a modern spin to Langston Hughes’ groundbreaking 1961 Off-Broadway play, incorporating hip-hop and surrealist elements to the tale. But its heavy-handed melodrama and overwhelming religious focus makes it a fundamentally uneven film.

By Roxana Hadadi

Before Thanksgiving even occurs, we have “Black Nativity,” a Christmas-time film from writer-director Kasi Lemmons. In her adaptation of Langston Hughes’ original 1961 Off-Broadway play, Lemmons tries to reach for a modern audience by adding some hip-hop flair and surreal imagery. The film’s utterly expected story, though, may keep audiences from being truly engaged.

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