Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Sometimes, a glimmer of amber-glowed sun lights a shot quite beautifully, and localizing so much drama in one (hot) location escalates emotion into powerful monologues. And there's a lot of historical pain wrapped in speeches paralleling the white exploitation of black art, but there's also a lot of melodrama that explodes with misjudged theatricality.

Boseman and Davis are both fine -even though it's terribly sad seeing Boseman's final performance- although they (and nearly everyone in the film) are acting loudly in a movie shot like a stage production. Maybe that's a bit too harsh, but when everything ends begging to be seen as an emotionally tragic epic, the movie collapses under its own dramatic weight.

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