Film Review: Cynthia Erivo engages in imperfect but important 'Harriet' [trailer]

This image released by Focus Features shows Cynthia Erivo as Harriet Tubman in a scene from "Harriet." (Glen Wilson/Focus Features via AP)

Legendary American heroine that she is, there are certain things for which Harriet Tubman is overdue. One is her spot on U.S. currency: Google "Tubman" and "$20" and "Trump." Another is a major feature film based on her life: Google "Tubman" and "Hollywood" and "why so long?"

Well, that $20 bill has been delayed, but finally there's a Hollywood film, "Harriet," that seeks to honor Tubman and her extraordinary place in the anti-slavery movement.

Hollywood doesn't make tons of movies about female heroes or black heroes, let alone black female heroes. One can only imagine the pressure the creative team must have felt to get it just right. And that's exactly what comes across in the final product. "Harriet" is built on such good intentions and such a fierce desire to get it right that it seems risk-averse creatively, a fairly formulaic biopic created more for a history classroom than the multiplex.

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