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Hava Nagila: The Movie Reviews

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Farran Smith Nehme
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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
Kalvin Henely
Slant Magazine

The doc can at times feel like you're wasting your time on a subject you might wish you had only accidentally crossed paths with briefly on Wikipedia.

Full Review Source: Slant Magazine | Original Score: 1.5/4

February 26, 2013
Michael Atkinson
Village Voice
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Patronizing from toe to chin, the film opts continually for self-congratulation and cheesy aphorism, and could've-should've been comfortable slotted into a half hour of airtime on TJC.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

February 26, 2013
Jamie S. Rich
Oregonian

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
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
Roger Moore
Movie Nation

A playful and fun history of the Hebrew "Hokey Pokey."

Full Review Source: Movie Nation | Original Score: 3/4

February 21, 2013
Ella Taylor
NPR
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Grossman finds lively, often passionate and funny interpreters - among them rabbis, historians, musicologists and klezmer musicians - to guide us through the song's many transformations.

Full Review Source: NPR

February 28, 2013
Nell Minow
Beliefnet

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
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
Film-Forward.com

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: Film-Forward.com | Original Score: 6/10

March 2, 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
Kam Williams
NewsBlaze

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
Stephen Silver
EntertainmentTell

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
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
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
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
John Anderson
Newsday
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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
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
Phil Hall
Film Threat

Grossman deserves kudos for this unique nonfiction celebration of a timeless musical favorite. And as I never get to say in my Episcopalian church services: Mazel Tov!

Full Review Source: Film Threat | Original Score: 3.5/5

February 26, 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
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