Sven Roth’s review published on Letterboxd:
Well, let's start with something positive.
The acting is fantastic. Chadwick Boseman shows the best performance of his way too short career and Viola Davis hit it straight out of the park. The monologues and "show-off" scenes are fantastic, but every shot they get at each other's throat are special.
A little problem for me personally, the better Boseman plays his role the less I can stand his character. Just as a side note, I hate people like that .. not that this matters.
The other thing I really liked are the moments when everyone ignores all problems and they just focus on making music. Unfortunately, these moments are far too rare.
That's it, that's the positive stuff I can say about this movie. I'm sorry but the rest is so generic and terribly done, I had a really hard time getting through this.
You can see and feel that it is meant to be played on a stage in every scene. The tonal shifts and long ongoing dialogues are a clear indicator, and I wouldn't really mind them. On the contrary, I really liked the little space the whole movie plays in. But you have to work with the medium film and all the possibilities you have. If I want to see it performed on stage, I go to a theater and watch it on a fucking stage and don't see a movie.
But all the forced elements and how they are implimanted are what ruined the movie for me.
The incredibly boring and completely out of context romance is one thing. And that Taylour Paige is the only actress in the film who I actually found horrific, another one.
But the little stories they tell each other just to add the drama that they can't show because it's just a play? The stories a young child could write better and less generic?
A little bit less obvious and forced maybe?
Overall it's just a terrible play adaptation and terribly generic that gets elevated by some outstanding performances .. And I'm not really surprised that it is being received so positively because it looks like terribly generic movies with outstanding acting performances are what a lot of people want nowadays.