A somewhat disorienting jumble of narrative invention and stage-y musical,
adapts Langston Hughes’ 1961 ‘gospel-song-play’, itself an urbanised adaptation of the Nativity.
Seventeen-year-old pop/R&B singer Jacob Latimore stars as Langston, a moody teen forced to leave his Baltimore home and financially struggling mom (Jennifer Hudson) to stay with his relatives in Harlem for the holidays.
His booming grandfather (Forest Whitaker) and gentler grandmother (Angela Bassett) have many lessons to teach the wayward young man, and they do it with much singing and carrying-on.
The well-worn platitudes and pained moralising are a bit much, but the music is tremendous.
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