Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom ★★★★

Another great film of 2020, with some of the most incredible performances of the year.

I’m always a tiny bit hesitant if a movie is based on a play, and they don’t always work, but I think this did for the most part due to some great dialogue, production elements, exploration of important themes and powerful acting. It took a little while for me to fully get into but once it gets going it’s fabulous. 

Viola Davis is the queen of all acting and is marvelous in this like she is in everything. Her power, her screen presence, she is just glorious. And beautiful Chadwick... it was very surreal watching this and knowing it was his last performance, but what a performance. The energy he brings to the screen is exceptional. His range is brilliant - one minute his playfulness is making you smile and the next you’re moved by the phenomenal delivery of a heavy monologue. The fact that he was probably very sick while filming this just makes it all the more astounding. What a mark for an actor to leave. Both him and Viola deserve all the nominations and wins coming their way.

A fantastic watch which also has a great supporting cast and very effective build of tension. A successful play adaption in my books.

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