Writer/Director Kasi Lemmons’ Black Nativity is a heartfelt Christmas story of the repercussions resulting from trying to interfere with someone’s life, no matter whether it’s done with their supposed best interests at heart. And, it’s a musical with a libretto by the poet Langston Hughes. What’s more, you don’t have to be Black to enjoy it.
Naima Cobb (Jennifer Hudson) is a single mother, living in Baltimore, who has been estranged from her Minister father (Forest Whitaker) and mother (Angela Bassett) for over 15 years. Now, owing $5,000, she is about to be evicted from her apartment and sends her son Langston (Jacob Latimore) to New York to live with her parents while she tries to get her life together.
Langston wants to know what has driven the family apart and goes through a surprising journey to learn the truth and learning that same $5K amount figures in the answer.
The singing, including that of Mary J. Blige, is excellent, with Whitaker’s fine voice surprising me. And, Jennifer Hudson could make your chest heave with emotion even if she were just singing about bananas.
We needed a good musical this year.
As I said above, you don’t need to be Black to enjoy this film…just have a heart.
I give Black Nativity a joyful 4 out of 5.