Soraya Nadia McDonald

Soraya Nadia McDonald
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
97% Dolemite Is My Name (2019) What a relief to see something so nakedly committed to entertaining its audience, and which made the case for doing so with such passion. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 16, 2019
17% Sweetness in the Belly (2019) Sweetness in the Belly has its moments of grace... But for a complicated story set during even more complicated times, Sweetness in the Belly just feels altogether too simple. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 16, 2019
100% Our Lady of the Nile (Notre-Dame du Nil) (2019) Director Atiq Rahimi has once again created a beautiful and disturbing work of cinema. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 16, 2019
86% Just Mercy (2019) It's a new twist on the old formula of Yankee lawyers who come to the South and find a wall of community resistance to racial equality and injustice, but it's a powerful one. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2019
96% Clemency (2019) [Clemency] continue the work of highlighting racial inequality in the justice system. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2019
No Score Yet Lucas Brothers: On Drugs (2017) It's sharp, smart, insightful and hilarious. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 16, 2019
97% Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am (2019) [Toni] Morrison remains an inspiration for many reasons, but especially because she believed in her own talents long before the institutional arbiters of such things caught on to them. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 15, 2019
99% The Farewell (2019) The Farewell leaves you marveling at sincerity, selflessness, and grace, and nursing a need to call your grandmother. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 15, 2019
93% The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019) The Last Black Man in San Francisco is an exquisite dirge for the loss of a city, of home, of community. But most of all, it mourns the loss of possibility, and for some that load is just too heavy to bear. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 7, 2019
95% See You Yesterday (2019) No matter the inspired cinematography or considered, authentic performances, these stories carry a weight of inevitability as they suck every particle of hope out of the air. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted May 17, 2019
51% The Sun Is Also a Star (2019) Shahidi and Melton are charming and utterly watchable together. They're both absurdly attractive and skilled actors, but whatever magic exists between them is limited by Tracy Oliver's script. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted May 17, 2019
81% Fast Color (2019) Fast Color is an exceptional, poetic ride that cries out for further exploration. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 26, 2019
62% Native Son (2019) Nearly 80 years after Native Son was first published, we're still searching for answers. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 11, 2019
93% Us (2019) As social commentary, it's not as razor-sharp as Get Out. But it still feels like an exceptional accomplishment, mainly because Peele created a role that is a worthy showcase of Nyong'o's talent. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 22, 2019
100% Jump Shot (2019) With archival footage from college basketball games in the 1940s and pro ball in the 1950s, Hamilton illustrates how much Sailors seemed like a time traveler from the future. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2019
92% High Flying Bird (2019) To avoid spoilers, I'll hold my tongue on the rest of High Flying Bird's deliciously crafty plot. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 8, 2019
95% If Beale Street Could Talk (2019) In his adaptation of If Beale Street Could Talk, Jenkins has fully established himself as one of American cinema's finest architects of intimacy. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 14, 2018
100% Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland (2018) More than anything, the value in Say Her Name lies in its refusal to allow Bland to be silenced, even in death. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 6, 2018
91% Widows (2018) Widows is filled with wild beauty, heart-thumping grotesquerie and even some good ol' soapy treachery. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2018
95% Jinn (2018) Jinn quivers with joy and uncertainty, confidence and shame, delivering exactly what makes independent cinema exciting: a bright new voice with a bold vision. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2018
97% The Hate U Give (2018) In dealing with all of it, the book character finds her confidence and her voice. But the movie version of The Hate U Give leaves me unsure that its makers ever found theirs. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2018
No Score Yet Student Athlete (2018) A new documentary about the exploitation of college athletes is right on time. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2018
91% Crazy Rich Asians (2018) The best romantic comedy from a big studio since Bridget Jones's Diary was released in 2001. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 30, 2018
91% Crime + Punishment (2018) Maing's documentary doesn't offer an answer to whether a system as vast and powerful as the NYPD can be reformed from the inside. But he illustrates just how difficult it is to try and how many disincentives face officers who challenge the status quo. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 28, 2018
96% BlacKkKlansman (2018) Just as Lee reminds us of his talent and the way it's been overlooked, he also reminds us of what he's been trying to tell us about American racism. Malcolm X was Lee's rainbow sign. BlacKkKlansman is the fire this time. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 10, 2018
94% Blindspotting (2018) Blindspotting is a film about gentrification that never stops screwing with its audience. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 20, 2018
93% Sorry to Bother You (2018) Riley's film thrums with the energy and unnecessary tics of a filmmaker itching to empty the contents of his imagination into one crazy, not-all-together coherent motion picture. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 5, 2018
89% Whitney (2018) There is a steep price to pay for the racial malleability required for a little girl from Newark, New Jersey, whom everyone called Nippy to become Whitney Houston. Kevin Macdonald's documentary shows us how we all stood by and watched her pay it. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 5, 2018
32% Fahrenheit 451 (2018) It's a testament to [Michael B.] Jordan's skill as an actor that these scenes are remotely palatable, given the shaky emotional scaffolding on which they are built. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted May 18, 2018
80% Unsane (2018) Add Steven Soderbergh's new film, Unsane, to the ranks of psychological horror-thrillers that double as documentaries. Those of us who've seen Get Out or read too many shiver-inducing tales of #MeToo can never consume horror the same way again. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 22, 2018
42% A Wrinkle in Time (2018) A Wrinkle in Time asks its young audience to "be a warrior" by loving itself. But it doesn't really illustrate how a young person does that. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 8, 2018
92% Thor: Ragnarok (2017) Suffice it to say, Valkyrie is a certified badass. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 2, 2017
79% Marshall (2017) The shortcomings that separate Marshall from Hidden Figures and Loving are the same ones that give it the feeling of a TV movie. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 13, 2017
96% Weiner (2016) It's a fabulously entertaining view from inside a political campaign, giving us a firsthand experience of all the weird, Good Wife-style maneuvering that takes place. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2017
100% T-Rex (2016) It all comes together in a terrific story that makes it impossible not to root for Shields. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2017
100% Pervert Park (2015) It's a fascinating look at a community of people many would prefer to write off entirely. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2017
90% Miss Sharon Jones! (2016) An emotional [and] beautifully rendered story. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2017
96% Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise (2016) It's easy to fall into thinking of the late Maya Angelou as something of a national grandmother when she was so much more than that. Thankfully, Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise, is here to correct that misconception. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2017
100% Check It (2016) Check It provides a realistic look at the effects of cyclical poverty, prejudice, and homelessness on gay youth. Advocacy groups in the nation's capital are still basking in the victory of the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2017
100% Dumb: The Story of Big Brother Magazine (2017) In every generation, there's a group of maniacs who insist upon rule-breaking, not in the name of some sort of principled stand for freedom but simply because they're a bunch of roustabout, devil-may-care libertines. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2017
No Score Yet Unacknowledged (2017) [Unacknowledged] will likely leave you feeling uneasy, paranoid and maybe more than a little willing to don a tricornered hat made of Reynolds wrap. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2017
97% The Fits (2016) If the fits are lemons, caused by metaphorical lead poisoning, then Toni's amazing closing sequence is lemonade. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2017
46% Free State of Jones (2016) Because Free State of Jones concentrates so singularly on making [Matthew] McConaughey the hero of the film, it ends up being a series of missed opportunities. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2017
74% Ghostbusters (2016) Frankly, if you're going to make a new Ghostbusters with a female foursome as the leads and you're facing a backlash from clanging dungeons of the woman-hating internet, it seems like it would make for an epic opportunity to troll them. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2017
72% The Birth of a Nation (2016) One of The Birth of a Nation's biggest weaknesses is that the film's female characters are given little consideration in comparison to their male counterparts. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2017
97% 13th (2016) 13th tells us black Americans are not irrational. They are not making up racism or targeted arrests and police violence. 13th tells us black people are not crazy. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2017
93% Hidden Figures (2017) The pragmatism that flows through Hidden Figures provides a beacon of hope in a modern era that feels marked by uncertainty and despair. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2017
91% La La Land (2016) It makes it more difficult to just let something like La La Land just passively wash over you when, however well-intentioned, the film hearkens back to a time when black humanity onscreen was deliberately hamstrung. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2017
70% Little Boxes (2017) In Little Boxes, there's cause for optimism because Meyer and Howell are doing interesting work that's absolutely necessary and not always easy: interrogating whiteness and the ways it shapes the people of color who encounter it. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2017
69% The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2017) Imagine having to endure the emotional labor of seeing your own story told, without the comfort of knowing that you control it or enjoying compensation for it either. Henrietta Lacks raises questions about ethics, both artistic and biomedical. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2017