Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom ★★★

I don’t like to use the term Oscar bait, but I feel this fits that description. It’s a fine movie that covers relevant issues in our society, the perfect movie for rich old white men. That’s not to say this movie is bad, I just found it mostly uninteresting and found the presentation to be fairly bland.

The main reason I wanted to watch this was because this is the last Chadwick Boseman performance. I’m kind of mixed on him In this movie, he does this weird accent that I found to be off putting but sometimes it works. He’s basically the main character and I probably blame the somewhat weak performance on the direction. A lot of these scenes had such a disjointed flow to them. People were talking in different tones of voices in the same conversation and a lot of the longer takes feel really awkward. There’s these long monologues the characters have and it’ll cut to a reaction shot of the other characters just nodding their head or something but it just feels off. 

The editing in this is atrocious. I mentioned earlier how some scenes were disjointed but there’s so many cuts during conversations which probably means this is going to win best editing too. It’s a shame cause the cinematography is pretty good but it’s almost ruined completely with this terrible editing. There’s a few scenes where longer takes are in play and when the movie just calmed down with the quick cuts it worked much better.

I really enjoyed the music in this. It gave me a lot of Birdman vibes with how it was executed and with it being worked into some of the more fast paced scenes to give the audience this sense of anxiety. It’s not done nearly as well as in Birdman but I feel there’s a comparison to made. 

Overall this movie was fine. It could have been worse and instead it just came out average. I’m guessing this is probably going to win some Oscars based on the type of movie it is, which is fine: it’s an okay movie but I can’t say I ever want to watch it again. Rip Chadwick Boseman.