Watch Who Do You Love?
- 1 hr 30 min
Who Do You Love? is a biographical film that tells the story of Leonard Chess, a Jewish immigrant who established Chess Records, one of the most successful blues and rock 'n roll record labels of the 1950s and 60s. The film, set in Chicago, follows Leonard's journey from a young man working at his family's junkyard to a music industry mogul who discovers and promotes some of the greatest African American musicians of his time, including Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Howlin' Wolf, and Etta James. The film portrays Leonard Chess as a shrewd businessman who recognizes the marketability of African American music at a time when it was still a largely underground, segregated genre. Leonard's partnership with his brother Phil, played by Jon Abrahams, proves crucial in establishing Chess Records as a pioneering label that, despite its small scale, manages to compete with major record companies like RCA and Columbia. The film is anchored by a standout performance by Alessandro Nivola as Leonard Chess. Nivola manages to capture the complex character of Chess, portraying him as a man who is both ambitious and compassionate, shrewd and naive. Nivola's chemistry with David Oyelowo, who plays Muddy Waters, is one of the highlights of the film. Oyelowo brings depth and authenticity to the role of the blues legend, showcasing not just his musical talent but also his turbulent personal life and the racism he faced as a black musician in the 1950s. Chi McBride is also excellent in his portrayal of Willie Dixon, a bassist and songwriter who played a pivotal role in the creation of Chess Records' sound. Dixon's story adds another layer of complexity to the film, as he struggles with his identity as a black man in a still-segregated society and his loyalty to Chess, whom he sees as both a friend and an exploitative employer. The film's soundtrack is a standout feature, showcasing some of the most iconic songs of the era. The film takes care to highlight the importance of the music itself in its characters' lives, showing how it served as a means of escape and expression for African American musicians in a time of racial injustice and oppression. The film also touches on the complex relationships between the musicians themselves, depicting both the camaraderie and competition that existed within the Chess Records family. Overall, Who Do You Love? is a well-crafted biopic that does justice to the legacy of Chess Records and the musicians who helped shape the sound of rock 'n roll. Its strong performances, compelling story, and fantastic soundtrack make it a must-see for fans of music history and biographical film.