Soraya Nadia McDonald

Soraya Nadia McDonald
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
28% Antebellum (2020) Antebellum sprinkles its under-considered plot with elements that recur but are never explained... Meanwhile, the more difficult questions behind Antebellum's world-building choices go unaddressed. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 20, 2021
98% The Forty-Year-Old Version (2020) The Forty-Year-Old Version offers a refreshing, unpretentious and often hilarious take on middle-aged Black womanhood. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 20, 2021
98% Time (2020) [Director Garrett] Bradley's mastering of craft is evident in all the ways she strays from convention. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 20, 2021
98% Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020) Each of the actors rises to the occasion in this production, riding a wave of heat crafted by screenwriter and Wilson whisperer Ruben Santiago-Hudson. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 20, 2021
80% The Old Guard (2020) Given a team of highly regarded actors in Charlize Theron, Chiwetel Ejiofor and KiKi Layne, Prince-Bythewood delivers both satisfying, high-octane fights and a proper storyline to stitch them together. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 19, 2021
99% Miss Juneteenth (2020) Through her round-the-way-girl protagonist, Peoples reminds Turquoise and all of us that there's more than one way to get free. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 22, 2020
92% Da 5 Bloods (2020) Da 5 Bloods [is] Spike Lee's sprawling, ambitious, vital and fiery entry into the Vietnam War film canon. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 12, 2020
70% The High Note (2020) Ross is an actress who consistently punches above the weight class of the material she's given. And yet in the biggest moment of her film career to date, it's obvious that she deserves more, too. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 1, 2020
93% Becoming (2020) Becoming more or less offers Obama fanservice... But it's most interesting in the rare moments when Obama speaks candidly about topics that had been verboten, or at least strongly discouraged. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted May 7, 2020
74% The Photograph (2020) A dithering, unshakable ambivalence dooms The Photograph, which might be the most distilled example of the deficiencies in Meghie's work as a writer/director. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2020
21% Like a Boss (2020) But no amount of concealer can hide the plot holes or general laziness that tanks Like a Boss, and it is exactly those inadequacies that have consigned it to Dump Month. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 10, 2020
91% Uncut Gems (2019) The magic trick of the Safdies is that even when they plunge you into the dyspeptic, spleeny, cyclical hell of Howard's own making, they manage to make you root for him anyway. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 13, 2019
88% Hala (2019) The film shines with a glorious commitment to the emotional evolution of its female characters, which James Sizemore's score accents with notes of subtle agony. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 11, 2019
83% Queen & Slim (2019) The director's confident patience guides the pacing of Queen & Slim, allowing both the film and the relationship between its titular characters to unfold organically, even as the stakes of the picture are established within its first 15 minutes. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 3, 2019
73% Harriet (2019) Harriet is so consumed with reverence for the patron saint of Black History Month that it neglects to make her, or any of the supporting characters around her, a real person. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2019
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
40% Sweetness in the Belly (2020) 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
85% Just Mercy (2020) 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
92% 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
98% 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
92% 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
52% 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
60% 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: The Kenny Sailors Story (2020) 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
91% 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
91% 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
92% 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
88% 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
33% 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
93% Thor: Ragnarok (2017) Suffice it to say, Valkyrie is a certified badass. - The Undefeated EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 2, 2017
80% 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
97% 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