Movie Information

Harriet Tubman's extraordinary deeds are cheapened via Lifetime movie trappings.
Genre: Biopic/Drama
Director: Kasi Lemmons
Starring: Cynthia Erivo, Leslie Odom Jr., Joe Alwyn
Rated: PG-13

The fact that there’s finally a widely available biopic about Harriet Tubman is a major achievement, but the Lifetime movie treatment that the typically reliable Kasi Lemmons (Mudbound; Talk to Me) provides in Harriet is a disservice to the great woman’s legacy.

In her first starring role, Cynthia Erivo (Widows) is lifeless and uncharismatic as our heroine, whose surprisingly dull path to the Underground Railroad is marred by a distracting trope of visions from God steering her decisions and further cheapened by a non-R rating that yields a bizarrely soft look at slavery.

Told via boring, boilerplate visuals and cloying musical cues, Tubman’s daring deeds deserve better than this significant step back for the cast and crew that’s also an insult to slave narratives overall.

About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for ashevillemovies.com and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA).

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.