Lee’s review published on Letterboxd:
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom was adapted from the two-time Pulitzer winning play by August Wilson, & what an exceptional film it is. The performances, specifically from stars Chadwick Boseman, “in his final role, after his untimely death”, & Viola Davis steal the show. Their performances alone are worth a ticket, there’s such a rich & complex looseness within their characters. There’s a depth of anguish beneath the characters that’s layered with a sincerely awareness & humorous charisma. They’re well-rounded performances that will stick with you long after you’ve experienced them. Although Davis, “as a mother of blues singer”, is undeniably great, it’s Boseman, “as a horn player in her band”, who unquestionably delivers a career best performance here. There will definitely be awards attention headed their way come awards season. The film also has a surprisingly short run time at a brisk 93 minutes, which keeps the story moving along gracefully. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom was considerately directed by George C. Wolfe, “Nights in Rodanthe”, & distributed by streamer Netflix.