Watch Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
- 1 hr 34 min
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, released in 2020, is a movie about the Blues singer Ma Rainey, who is considered a pioneer in the genre. Set in 1927 Chicago, the movie is an adaptation of the August Wilson play by the same name. Directed by George C. Wolfe, the movie stars Viola Davis as the titular character, Chadwick Boseman, in one of his last performances before his untimely death, plays Levee, a talented trumpet player, and Glynn Turman who portrays Cutler, the trombone player and a band member of Ma Rainey's band.
The movie begins with an introduction to Ma Rainey, a flamboyant and authoritative figure who is highly respected and revered for her contributions to the Blues genre. The movie then shifts its focus to her band, which is preparing for a recording session. Ma is a demanding person, and she keeps everyone waiting, including the band members, her manager, and the record producers. The band members are tired and frustrated as the session seems to be going nowhere. Things take a more dramatic turn when Ma's band members get into a heated discussion with Levee, who believes that he should have his own band and be a star.
The movie is a powerful reflection of the racial tensions and injustices of the time. Ma Rainey's Black Bottom highlights the problems faced by Black musicians while working with White producers, who often took advantage of their position of power. Despite the fact that Ma is considered a legend of the Blues, she is still under the thumb of the White producers, who dictate what she can and cannot do. The movie also focuses on the struggles of Black musicians who are trying to build a career in the entertainment industry, which is still predominantly dominated by White people.
The performances in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom are nothing short of remarkable. Viola Davis delivers a commanding and intense performance as Ma Rainey, a character born out of struggle and hardship. Her performance is visceral, and she manages to capture the essence of what it means to be a trailblazing artist in a time of chaos and confusion. Chadwick Boseman, in his final role before his passing, gives a gut-wrenching performance as Levee, a talented trumpet player with his own demons to battle. Boseman's energy and charisma are infectious, and he shines every time he is onscreen. Glynn Turman also gives an excellent performance as Cutler, the trombone player who tries to keep the peace between the band members.
The movie is also visually stunning, with a unique and atmospheric colour palette that captures the rawness and emotion of the time. The sets and costumes are authentic and add an additional layer of depth to the story.
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is a masterpiece of cinema, it is a poignant and powerful story that explores themes of racial tension, artistic struggle, and the complexities of human relationships. It is a movie that will stay with you long after the credits roll, and it is a fitting tribute to the late, great Chadwick Boseman.
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is a 2020 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 34 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.9 and a MetaScore of 87.