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Hava Nagila: The Movie Reviews

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Jamie S. Rich

The film is alternately fascinating and entertaining, though you'll likely be sick of hearing the familiar melody by the time it's through.

Full Review Source: Oregonian | Original Score: 2.5/5

July 25, 2013
Chris Knight
National Post

You know you're in for an irreverent documentary when the narrator asks: "What's up with this song?"

Full Review Source: National Post | Original Score: 3/4

May 31, 2013
Stephen Silver

The film isn't slick and doesn't have the greatest production values I've ever seen, but it's still an enjoyable romp through the history of a great song.

Full Review Source: EntertainmentTell | Original Score: 4/5

May 20, 2013
Ben Sachs
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Thankfully there are enough eloquent talking heads to keep this watchable.

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader

May 3, 2013
Bill Brownstein
Montreal Gazette

A whimsical and even occasionally profound documentary about the origins of this time-honoured Jewish tune.

Full Review Source: Montreal Gazette | Original Score: 3.5/5

May 2, 2013
Donald Liebenson
Chicago Sun-Times
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A slight, but very satisfying, and at times, surprisingly moving, documentary about the inescapable Jewish anthem and wedding and bar mitzvah music staple.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 3/4

May 2, 2013
Nell Minow

It is annoying, frustrating, embarrassing, and irresistible, which makes it a perfect Rorschach test and intriguing metaphor for contemporary Jewish identity.

Full Review Source: Beliefnet | Original Score: B+

April 25, 2013
Loren King
Boston Globe
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An entertaining examination of the "kitschy and profound" song's cultural and historical origins.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 3/4

April 25, 2013
Ron Wilkinson
Monsters and Critics

What does it mean? Do we really care? We should.

Full Review Source: Monsters and Critics | Original Score: 7/10

March 22, 2013
Gary Goldstein
Los Angeles Times
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It's a fun, nostalgic, informative journey.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 3.5/5

March 14, 2013
Emanuel Levy

Balancing the anecdotal with the informative, this charming docu at once celebrates and explains the origins of the iconic Jewish tune.

Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com | Original Score: B

March 12, 2013
Mark R. Leeper
Mark Leeper's Reviews

As one interviewee says the song "is a melody that evokes new life, hope, and joy." The song does that and so does HAVA NAGILA (THE MOVIE).

Full Review Source: Mark Leeper's Reviews | Original Score: 7/10

March 11, 2013
John Anderson
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The attitude is so much fun and the story so involving that a little naches is forgivable.

Full Review Source: Newsday | Original Score: 3/4

March 7, 2013
Fr. Chris Carpenter
Movie Dearest

Fun and illuminating...The movie as well as the song serve as fitting, entertaining testaments to the resilience of the Jewish people.

Full Review Source: Movie Dearest | Original Score: B+

March 5, 2013
Nora Lee Mandel

Entertainingly traces the origins of the ubiquitous song and how it became worldwide kitsch [but] gets wearyingly redundant like a party that has gone on too long.

Full Review Source: | Original Score: 6/10

March 2, 2013
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
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Even the occasional bad jokes feel like part of this story.

Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger | Original Score: 3/4

March 1, 2013
Farran Smith Nehme
New York Post
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What you get is an awful lot of filler, including every performer who ever sang "Hava Nagila," from Harry Belafonte to Glen Campbell using it as the flip side to "True Grit."

Full Review Source: New York Post | Original Score: 2/4

March 1, 2013
Kam Williams

Everything you ever wanted to know about Hava Nagila but were afraid to ask, except:: 'What's the deal with the ritual of raising a chair in the air like you don't care?'

Full Review Source: NewsBlaze | Original Score: 4/4

February 28, 2013
Avi Offer
NYC Movie Guru

One of those rare, crowd-pleasing documentaries that compels you to tap your toes and leaves you with a great big smile on your face from ear to ear upon exiting the theater.

Full Review Source: NYC Movie Guru | Original Score: 8.0/10

February 28, 2013
Rachel Saltz
New York Times
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The filmmakers mix the playful and serious, with only occasional lapses.

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 3.5/5

February 28, 2013
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