Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom ★★★★½

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom... dang! Two electric performances, even explosive at times! And the year’s best adapted screenplay so far. 

Looks like Viola Davis is going to snatch that Oscar for this role. When she’s on screen, you look at her. She demands your attention, commands respect, and you give it. My goodness, this might be my favorite work from her. 
Chadwick Boseman is right there with her. He has mastered the Harlem accent, letting jazz run through his veins. This man flawlessly traverses from joy to lust, from fear to anger, from arrogance to vulnerability. We slowly see him unravel, and it saddens the heart to see him at his lowest point.

When watching the behind-the-scenes Netflix special, I heard a few pieces of context that I didn’t pick up on during the film. Maybe I’ll pick up on them on my second watch, but I’m pretty sure some of the context that helps explain the inner tension between Ma and Levee isn’t really touched upon.

George Wolfe has directed some stirring dramas, but for me this is his first home run. Everything fits neatly into place, and the characters hop from the stage play to the screen. It’s... wonderful, simply wonderful. 

This is a good movie to end 2020. Hopefully now this story reaches the hearts of all Americans. God bless everyone who worked on this, and God bless the men and women this story speaks of.
Chadwick Boseman, I felt every emotion you felt, and you moved me so deeply with this role. Thank you.

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