Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom ★★★½

Yet another 2020 release that is based in a stage play that at times feels chained to its theatrical roots in a really exhausting way. George C. Wolfe doesn't necessarily do enough to make Ma Rainey's Black Bottom a wholly cinematic venture - and even his form at time can feel clumsy - but oh my fucking god does this film have the confidence, pizazz, and flair to make any kind of words pop off the screen with meaning.

But that isn't what elevates Ma Rainey to the next level, it's the mind-blowingly electric and nuanced performances from Chadwick Boseman, Viola Davis, and Colman Domingo. Boseman deserves the Oscar that he will most likely rake in next year.

I was unfamiliar with this story prior to watching this film but unsurprisingly, August Wilson's script is so rich and tackles incredibly lofty ideas in such a confrontational and poignant manner. At just 95 minutes, this things grabs by the collar, smacks you around for a bit and then jumps out the window in the leanest and meanest way possible. It's quite an experience.

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