☆ Sophie ☆’s review published on Letterboxd:
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom felt too much like a play in this film, which is not what I was expecting given that this is a movie adaptation of a play. However, the performances given by Chadwick Boseman and Viola Davis are extraordinary and deserve much recognition. While the film has a relatively brief duration, it never feels too abrupt or unsatisfying. Sure there's quite a bit of word bickering and dialogue that seem unnecessary. For a short film, the pacing is proficient and thorough, properly understanding its characters and the situations they find themselves in, all while tying into the blues much and the impact it has on the characters. The music was enjoyable, but so little of the runtime is spent actually playing music.
The film's conclusion is left on a powerful and stirring note, and it feels like a fitting end to the narrative. However, much of the film is relatively light on the actual plot, which does not always make the story as impactful as it could be. Even though the dialogue between the characters is intriguing and outstanding, some of the narrative could have used more simple plot points to further evolve the story. Otherwise, this is a very good and powerful film that is worth seeing. I would say the performances were my favorite aspect of the film.