Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom ★★★½

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom was an entirely enjoyable watch. You can tell that it was based on a play, and I can’t help but feel the story would be better suited to that medium, but the use of one location over the course of a day was so well utilised and is always fascinating to me.

Where this film lives and dies though is with its performances, putting so much stake in their interactions and charisma that the whole film essentially hinges on them. So it’s a good thing everyone absolutely brings it here, led by an absolutely electric Chadwick Boseman. He just commands every scene of this thing as an arrogant, overconfident and completely self-righteous man, but the film works because of the inherent likability and sympathy he brings to the character through sheer charisma and emotion. Colman Domingo and Viola Davis are both particularly fantastic too but this is Chadwick’s movie, and it’s a damn shame such an immense talent was taken from us.

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