Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom ★★★★★

“I know what I'm doin'. Let me handle them my way.”

The knowledge I have on blues music and those who left an impact on the genre is little to none. So, I was pleasantly surprised with this film as I believe Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is one of the greatest films of the year. 

Chadwick Boseman, while his character wasn’t the focal point of the film, presented us with one of the most enthralling, electrifying and emotional performances I’ve seen in this god forsaken year. Seeing Chadwick, albeit in character, speak about life and death just hits so unbelievably hard. I felt overwhelming grief watching as he pulled the entire cast together with his role. This film wouldn’t be the same without him and I truly hope he gets the recognition he deserves.

Viola Davis is just another fascinating part of this film. The entire cast feels so natural together, the film flies by and while I’m not even a huge fan of the blues, I found myself looking forward to seeing the band perform in-between dialogue heavy scenes. I’m aware this film is an adaptation of a play, and it’s obvious as you’re watching it. Though, it doesn’t hinder it at all and I think it actually works to its benefit as the film feels like it doesn’t really slow down too often. I feel like a topic such as this could be made easily uninteresting but with the phenomenal performances and exciting pacing, I found Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom to be a must see.

I’m really gonna miss Chadwick. Rest easy, king.

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