Hava Nagila: The Movie Reviews

  • Aug 25, 2015

    A surprisingly more interesting than to be expected documentary on the infamous Jewish Wedding Song Hava Nagila which routes & origin where largely unknown. It's amazing how popular the song was & how often it's was translated to different nations & personalities & styles. I personally have a keen interest in Jewish Routes in Hollywood Entertainment & find this film insightful. Also highlighted is the history of the song and how it originated in Ukraine hundreds of years before it was popular in the US.

    A surprisingly more interesting than to be expected documentary on the infamous Jewish Wedding Song Hava Nagila which routes & origin where largely unknown. It's amazing how popular the song was & how often it's was translated to different nations & personalities & styles. I personally have a keen interest in Jewish Routes in Hollywood Entertainment & find this film insightful. Also highlighted is the history of the song and how it originated in Ukraine hundreds of years before it was popular in the US.

  • Dec 14, 2013

    interesting documentary of the origins and growth of Hava Nagila. Worth watching for the tidbits you'll learn about the song.

    interesting documentary of the origins and growth of Hava Nagila. Worth watching for the tidbits you'll learn about the song.

  • Nov 16, 2013

    Although it is a bit too long, Hava Nagila: The Movie is entertaining, informative and serves as a healthy injection of chicken soup for gastronomic Jews around the world. The historical background concerning the song's origin as a niggun and the feud between the "composers" who made it popular is fascinating. Cameos by my colleague Rabbi Larry Kushner and insight from Reb Zalman Schachter Shalomi were insightful. The observations of Harry Belafonte were also outstanding. This is a thoroughly enjoyable film, well worth your time. Mazel tov!

    Although it is a bit too long, Hava Nagila: The Movie is entertaining, informative and serves as a healthy injection of chicken soup for gastronomic Jews around the world. The historical background concerning the song's origin as a niggun and the feud between the "composers" who made it popular is fascinating. Cameos by my colleague Rabbi Larry Kushner and insight from Reb Zalman Schachter Shalomi were insightful. The observations of Harry Belafonte were also outstanding. This is a thoroughly enjoyable film, well worth your time. Mazel tov!

  • Jun 20, 2013

    Seems a bit self-conscious and precious initially, but it works. The amused, slightly sarcastic tone complements the story of the inescapable song well in tracking the origins and inexorable spread of the quintessential Jewish party tune. It's a lightweight piece of work, with questions left unexplored, but it's pleasant diversion.

    Seems a bit self-conscious and precious initially, but it works. The amused, slightly sarcastic tone complements the story of the inescapable song well in tracking the origins and inexorable spread of the quintessential Jewish party tune. It's a lightweight piece of work, with questions left unexplored, but it's pleasant diversion.

  • Apr 25, 2013

    In case the not-so-subtle title isn't enough to tip you off, Hava Nagila: The Movie is...well, a movie about the ubiquitous Jewish anthem. Although labeling it merely a Jewish song would be doing it an injustice, as the peppy, extremely catchy little tune has been known to liven up parties of Jews and gentiles alike. It's the consummate happy tune that channels an "ancient Jewy force" to get people out of their chairs and clapping on the dance floor, but is it worth basing an entire film around? An obvious labor of love for director Roberta Grossman, the film enthusiastically delves into the song's vast history to discover how it became such an integral part of Jewish culture. Narrated by actress Rusty Schwimmer (North Country, The Perfect Storm), the film is basically one long history lesson, tracking the song's evolution over the last couple of centuries. Its origins begin nearly two hundred years ago in the Ukraine where families still war over who actually authored it. Over time the song came to mean many different things as it moved around the world and became enveloped in the culture of different people. Doubtful anyone expected it would turn up in America co-opted into our television shows and covered by musicians of literally every genre. Harry Belafonte, who ran it into the ground during his lengthy career, is probably the biggest name to turn up and sing its praises. While the film maintains a light, bouncy attitude, it also shows that the song had special significance during the most trying times in Jewish history, namely during the Holocaust. Strangely, the snarky, ironic tone doesn't really change even then. Informative and often quite a joy to watch, there's the sense that Grossman is stretching to meet the 73-minute runtime. So we get lots of added fluff, mostly in the form of interviews with people who have nothing of importance to add to the discussion. There is one exception and that's the inclusion of the Klezmatics, a klezmer band who would rather do anything than play Hava Nagila. A documentary on them would be a hoot. Like the song itself, Hava Nagila: The Movie may only appeal to those who are in the right mood for it. For them, the film will be a cheery, nostalgic journey. For everyone else, all they'll get out of it is a really irritating earworm for a few days.

    In case the not-so-subtle title isn't enough to tip you off, Hava Nagila: The Movie is...well, a movie about the ubiquitous Jewish anthem. Although labeling it merely a Jewish song would be doing it an injustice, as the peppy, extremely catchy little tune has been known to liven up parties of Jews and gentiles alike. It's the consummate happy tune that channels an "ancient Jewy force" to get people out of their chairs and clapping on the dance floor, but is it worth basing an entire film around? An obvious labor of love for director Roberta Grossman, the film enthusiastically delves into the song's vast history to discover how it became such an integral part of Jewish culture. Narrated by actress Rusty Schwimmer (North Country, The Perfect Storm), the film is basically one long history lesson, tracking the song's evolution over the last couple of centuries. Its origins begin nearly two hundred years ago in the Ukraine where families still war over who actually authored it. Over time the song came to mean many different things as it moved around the world and became enveloped in the culture of different people. Doubtful anyone expected it would turn up in America co-opted into our television shows and covered by musicians of literally every genre. Harry Belafonte, who ran it into the ground during his lengthy career, is probably the biggest name to turn up and sing its praises. While the film maintains a light, bouncy attitude, it also shows that the song had special significance during the most trying times in Jewish history, namely during the Holocaust. Strangely, the snarky, ironic tone doesn't really change even then. Informative and often quite a joy to watch, there's the sense that Grossman is stretching to meet the 73-minute runtime. So we get lots of added fluff, mostly in the form of interviews with people who have nothing of importance to add to the discussion. There is one exception and that's the inclusion of the Klezmatics, a klezmer band who would rather do anything than play Hava Nagila. A documentary on them would be a hoot. Like the song itself, Hava Nagila: The Movie may only appeal to those who are in the right mood for it. For them, the film will be a cheery, nostalgic journey. For everyone else, all they'll get out of it is a really irritating earworm for a few days.

  • Mar 30, 2013

    entertaining & informative !

    entertaining & informative !

  • Mar 24, 2013

    OK. more of a documentary

    OK. more of a documentary

  • Mar 15, 2013

    Did not like this movie at all. Way too much singing in it, put me to sleep!

    Did not like this movie at all. Way too much singing in it, put me to sleep!

  • Mar 15, 2013

    Going tonight . Preview looks great. Fantastic. Great shot of Bruce and the E Street Band. Very entertaining and informative . Will purchase for my collection. Make another movie !

    Going tonight . Preview looks great. Fantastic. Great shot of Bruce and the E Street Band. Very entertaining and informative . Will purchase for my collection. Make another movie !

  • Mar 05, 2013

    What's not to like! Fun and interesting. Even my shiksa partner enjoyed it.

    What's not to like! Fun and interesting. Even my shiksa partner enjoyed it.