Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom ★★★★

2020 Ranking 

My 100th 2020 release. It’s been a strong year actually especially considering the circumstances. 

While it does run into some of the ‘filmed play’ obstacles, particularly in its ending, this is overall a resounding success in really keeping me enraptured for every second of its runtime. The August Wilson dialogue flows, the use of music is dynamite and of course, Chadwick Boseman. 

I’m glad Netflix did the right thing in campaigning him Lead. Going in Supporting for an easy win would’ve been a disservice to his portrayal of Levee. Not just because Levee is very much the central figure, but Boseman’s performance is the fiery soul of the film. Those close-ups on his face as Levee pours out his soul are extraordinary. Neither Levee or Chadwick would get to see their time coming - but I’m glad they gave us this.

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