Film: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Opened: November 25, 2020

Directed by: George C. Wolfe

Starring: Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman, Glynn Turman, Colman Domingo, Michael Potts, Jonny Coyne, Taylour Paige, Jeremy Shamos, Dusan Brown & Joshua Harto

Though it unexpectedly became Chadwick Boseman’s final film, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom shows him and Viola Davis in their best form as both are captivating in every scene.

Blues singer Ma Rainey (Davis) and her band go into a Chicago recording studio in 1927 for a session. Her trumpeter Levee (Boseman) has dreams of a bigger future outside of Ma’s band much to the dismay of his fellow musicians.

Based on a real-life figure, the treatment of black people in the 1920s is rough. Davis is able to easily show Ma’s strength and disappointment in the white men who are supposed to support her, both of which happen at the same time.

Boseman is smooth-talking and never misses a beat, which is an impressive feat when you realize how much of the script is his.

Final say: Wonderfully executed. ★★★★★

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