Harriet Reviews

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November 7, 2019
The film is dramatized in a way that neither exaggerates nor lessens Harriet's extremely real struggle-no film can tarnish a legacy so profound.
November 3, 2019
The pint-sized Erivo captures the pint-sized Tubman's determination and fire. And by focusing on the violence slavery did to families, Lemmons makes us feel its outrages afresh.
November 3, 2019
"Harriet" often feels in awe of its subject, like it's staring at her through museum glass. There's a better, bolder story to be told from Tubman's life. "Harriet" is a start, but it never catches fire.
November 3, 2019
Harriet never feels like a fully formed human being with all the doubts and desires that come with that distinction.
November 2, 2019
The crackling historical fiction frames her harrowing rescue missions in fast-paced, quick-cut style.
November 1, 2019
[Cynthia Erivo] is really great, but the film is an unfortunately really safe, by-the-numbers biopic.
November 1, 2019
Clear, linear, sometimes bluntly obvious, "Harriet" is a rich, enlightening portrait - as sturdy and straightforward as the title character herself.
November 1, 2019
"Harriet" is a big, conventional Hollywood bio-pic except for the parts that aren't conventional at all... and the movie as a whole is worthy - a stirring if somewhat ham-fisted telling of a life that needs to be known by all Americans.
November 1, 2019
Though "Harriet" falters when it adds increasing amounts of action melodrama to the mix, the truth of Tubman's life, like leading Union soldiers during the Civil War, continues to astonish, as does the performance of the woman who brings her to life.
Top Critic
November 1, 2019
It's a harrowing, heroic story that comes along at a perfect time, told with a mixture of inspiration and adventure, although sadly lacking an undertone of legendary significance the story of Harriet Tubman deserves.
November 1, 2019
Try as it might to present her as a kind of pistol-toting Dirty Harriet, this clunky biopic -- directed and co-scripted by Kasi Lemmons -- doesn't come close to doing her justice.
November 1, 2019
Lemmons' greatest asset here is undoubtedly the tough-as-nails performance at the heart of her film.
November 1, 2019
The gospel songs are gorgeously performed and cleverly deployed, but the rest of the soundtrack makes an absolute mess of the film's mood: swoopy where it should be driven, wistful where it should be achingly tense.
November 1, 2019
"Harriet" plays more as the kind of movie that would be shown to a high school class studying the pre-Civil War era.
Top Critic
October 31, 2019
If the movie doesn't burn as brightly as Tubman's legacy, the tale it tells is illuminating nonetheless.
October 31, 2019
Erivo captures both Tubman's defiance and her headstrong courage. But the film overall feels too conventional. It simply cannot fully capture the inspiring story of Tubman's incredible life.
October 31, 2019
Cynthia Erivo makes a compelling Harriet Tubman in Harriet, a slightly shallow biopic of the American hero.
October 31, 2019
It is a rousing and powerful drama, respectful of both the historical record and the cravings of modern audiences.
October 31, 2019
Harriet is an overdue, mostly worthwhile tribute -- one whose main flaw involves dressing up her story more than its real-life heroism requires.
October 31, 2019
It's hard to go too far wrong, though, with a story as compelling as Tubman's and an actress as vivid as Erivo. Better to celebrate the arrival of what hopefully will be a slew of Tubman films, and look forward to those Tubman bills in our wallets.
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