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The Watsons Go to Birmingham

The Watsons Go to Birmingham

Genders: Family, History

Director: Kenny Leon

Writer: Caliope Brattlestreet (screenplay), Stephen Glantz

Actors: Bryce Clyde Jenkins, Harrison Knight, Skai Jackson, Anika Noni Rose

Year: 2013
Run time: N/A
IMDB score: 6.6
Updated: 3 years ago

Movie infomation

Movie name: The Watsons Go to Birmingham

Genders: Family, History

Imdb Score: 6.6

Runtime: N/A

Released: 20 Sep 2013

Director: Kenny Leon

Writer: Caliope Brattlestreet (screenplay), Stephen Glantz

Actors: Bryce Clyde Jenkins, Harrison Knight, Skai Jackson, Anika Noni Rose

Company: Arc Entertainment

Imdb Link

The Watsons Go to Birmingham Available Subtitles

English subtitles The Watsons Go to Birmingham3 years ago
Greek subtitles The Watsons Go to Birmingham3 years ago


With a largely familiar casts probably comes one of the best TV movies I've seen in some time.

8/10 The Watsons Go To Birmingham is a book, I believe, I had to read sometime in Middle School. Unfortunately I don't remember one bit of it, but if this film don't do it justice, than I doubt any other would. For, we have the established Anika Noni Rose and Wood Harris playing the parents, the young Mr. Bryce C. Jenkins who was in Easy A, Skai Jackson who seems to be a Disney child, and Mr. Harrison Knight who maybe someone to be considered up and coming. There is also David Alan Grier, who slightly redeems himself after Peeples, and LaTanya Richardson, who may probably be easier identified as Samuel L. Jackson's wife, but has quite a few movies under her belt which make you wonder "which one was she?"

Now, for those who haven't read the book, or are like me and forgot it after you did your book report/ test, the Watson family is pretty much prim and proper. Wilona (Anika Noni Rose) is an old-school housewife; Daniel (Wood Harris) is the father figure; Joetta, or Joey, (Skai Jackson) is the cute little youngest child who is all sweet and innocent; then you got the boys with Kenny (Bryce C. Jenkins) who is the middle child and sort of nerdy, and sometimes used as the example Negro; and then there is Bryon (Harrison Knight) who is that random spoiled apple who seems like the black sheep of the family.

As for the story, we first get settled with the Watsons before we even see Birmingham and they establish why they want to go: Because it is cold as hell in Flint, Michigan, even in springtime. So, between Bryon having issues at home and school, Daniel getting time off, and Wilona missing her mother, they take a 15 hour drive to Birmingham, Alabama during the time the civil rights movement is going on. From there, you watch as the kids learn why their parents migrated north, and get a lot of intermix between real events and the occasional reenactment. Including a few moments which give you a little scare.

Movies like these make me wonder what is the purpose of B.E.T anymore? Lifetime has probably created more, and better, TV movies in the last year or so, featuring Black people in lead roles, than B.E.T. has made, possibly since being sold to Viacom in the early 00s. This film, had me laughing, crying at some points, and even David Alan Grier looked good and, outside of Blankman and In Living Color, it is hard to find a production he is in which will lead to him deserving a compliment. That aside, I really do feel this, though not hard-hitting and overly serious, has probably became one of my favorite films to feature the Civil Rights Era as some sort of plot device. I sort of wish it existed back when I was in Middle School, and I only say sort of because likely many of the actors wouldn't have been born or even maybe available to play their roles back when I was in Middle School.

When it comes to negative aspects though, I would assume only a person who remembers the book could find something. Taking note this is a TV movie sort of lightens up your expectations a bit, and though the film never makes you think "why didn't they release this in theaters?" it never is to the point where you think "I can see why this is a TV movie" either. I guess, really, the only thing you could nitpick on is that some of the dialog didn't seem natural for the kids, especially when it came to outdated slang. Other than that, I got nothing.

Overall: Worth Seeing

The Watsons Go To Birmingham I won't claim to be something which will win Emmys and Golden Globes, but at the same time it very well could. It is one of those movies you may not expect much from, even with a talented casts, and strangely find yourself enjoying. It has comical moments, times when the reality of the times hit you, and all the while you find yourself with this family who may not be the type of dysfunctional family we are used to seeing in damn near every program/movie, but you still find yourself invested in them. That is why I'm saying it is worth watching, and I would even hope schools, assuming kids even read The Watsons Go To Birmingham anymore, get to watch this film after. I even think I may watch this again in the distant future.

3 years ago

Watsons to Birmingham-Another Bountiful Trip ****

10/10 Excellent film where a black family from Michigan go to Birmingham, Alabama one summer at the time when the civil rights movement was definitely gaining momentum throughout the nation.

The elder son is troubled and destined to get into big trouble. The younger brother is much more of the intellectual type, a real bookworm. The sister is sweet.

Anika Rose is quite good as the mother.

This trip will bring the family together. Note how quickly the eldest son matures. It is a revelation of integration of his personal problems with what is occurring in America circa 1962.

When the bombing of the church occurs, this event would give rise to Spike Lee's excellent documentary,"Four Little Girls." This tragedy would serve as a wake up call to America.

3 years ago

Great History Lesson that Helps You Appreciate the Rights We Have Today

9/10 "The Watsons go to Birmingham" is quite an interesting film and keeps my attention throughout.

Kenny, (Bryce Clyde Jenkins) and his family are African Americans. They live in a time period where segregation is still happening. Their family takes a trip to Birmingham, Alabama to visit their Grandmother Sands (LaTanya Richardson). In Birmingham, they take a stand for what is right.

I absolutely love the story line in this film. It's powerful, gives me a better perspective of what people went through back then and gives me an appreciation for the rights that I have today. Some of the scene sequences are extremely intense and the actors are doing a spectacular job in portraying their characters with the emotions. The young actors such as Bailey Tippen (Naomi), Skai Jackson (Joetta) and Harrison Knight (Bryon) are to be commended for their outstanding performances. They are so believable. The set, makeup, wardrobe and antique cars are great to see with so much attention to details. It really gives you a feel of how it was back then. My favorite character is Kenny because I can relate to him and in some scenes I would probably act the same way. My favorite scene is when Bryon is kissing his reflection on the car window and his lips are stuck. He has a hard time getting them off of the window. I can tell this really hurts, but it is extremely funny to see.

Director, Lenny Leon (A Raisin in the Sun), does a great job in directing this film and understands the history and the story line. There is a lot attention to detail with the human behaviors and uniqueness that's makes this film so much more believable. A message in this film is that we are all created equal. It does not matter what skin color you are, you have the same rights as anyone else. Please treat people the way you want to be treated.

I recommend "The Watson go to Birmingham" for ages 10 to 18 and for the entire family. I give it 4 out of 5 stars as the overall production is put together extremely well.

Reviewed by Brianna Hope B.,KIDS FIRST! Film Critic

3 years ago

A history that was told in an alternate route.

8/10 A fictional historic movie that tells the story about the Afro-Americans family. It was a television movie adapted from a novel of the same name. The movie is a purpose to learn about the history. Also describes the unity of the family and importance to fight back for the right things which was inspiring. It was not a violent movie, it was PG rated that everyone in the family can watch together on a fine occasion. It was shorter and targets nothing particularly about, but all the stuffs that happen around the family was showcased satisfactory manner.

An old man, Kenny recalls his childhood incidental story when the country was in revolution for his race. Kenny is a 11-year-old, born in a happy middle class family who live in Michigan. He got a trouble making older brother and an adorable little sister. On a summer holiday they decide to visit grandma who is in Birmingham. So the journey begins, but half way through they come to know that revolution for the civil rights movement has begun. Once they have reached, after the initial few days all the three children start to like the city. One side the revolution and the other side the family vacation. How the Watson family encountered historic event that took place was briefed with many good dialogues and tragic incidents.

''Nonviolence is the key in the fight... To break the bondage of oppression.''

A fine family story. This television movie offers lots of fun moments as well thinkable about our history. Good performance except a couple of them did not convince through their exhibition. The story was told from a kid's perspective about the events he witnessed during the holiday vacation that changed the history of entire country forever. As a kid, he grew up in a society that troubled by racism remarks. Where he visits during the holiday makes him realize the existence of two kinds of a divided society.

The story of the family might be fictitious, but the affairs happened around them were based on the real. Especially the bombing incident was very true. Anyway, a simplest movie for television audience. This movie is especially for people who are not into books. Those who are into both are always draw differences. I have not read it, but I liked this movie. Not a must see movie, but to add to the watch list and give it a shot when the proper time you think has arrived.

3 years ago