Biopics about Black women are rare, and Harriet doesn’t waste an opportunity to make a statement, positioning its titular subject as an intelligent, crafty, and vengeful superhero. There is no second-guessing or doubt in the version of Harriet Tubman presented by director Kasi Lemmons (Eve’s Bayou) and her cowriter, Gregory Allen Howard (Ali), and actress Cynthia Erivo spins that unwavering audacity into some riotously crowd-pleasing moments.
Roxana Hadadi, AV Club
In work that emphasizes the unstoppable power of a persuasive performance, Erivo not only convincingly conveys the strength of the celebrated abolitionist’s fierce personality, she creates her as a realistic, multi-sided character, a complex woman of formidable self-belief and not any kind of plaster saint.
Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times