MA’ RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM (2020)

Directed by: George C. Wolfe
Written By: Rueben Santiago-Hudson
Based On the play Written By: August Wilson
Cinematography: Tobias A. Schliessler
Editor: Andrew Mondahein

Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Viola Davis, Colman Domingo, Glynn Turman, Michael Potts, Jonny Clyde, Jeremy Shamos, Taylour Paige, Dusan Brown

During a recording session, tensions rise between Ma Rainey, her ambitious horn player, and the white management determined to control the uncontrollable “Mother of the Blues”.


This film contains a smaller story than expected. One was aware it was a play before but wasn’t expecting it to still feel as stage bound.

As the film tries to open up the story and show more locations but there are very few attempts to leave more it error locations. Which consist of two locations. The liner room where they practice and the recording g studio. So that the film keeps reminding you of its theatrical origins 

Chadwick Boseman steals all of his scenes and is more at the forefront of the movie. Though at first, it seems like he will be more of a high-energy supporting player. 

Though Viola Davis is the title character. Where she makes a powerful entrance and a strong exit. She also feels liek a supporting player. Even though the film revolves around her character. As after all, it’s her recording session and the others are her band. Who she feels are more the hired help. Who should be happy to be working for her.

Through her character though high strung. We find out why she is that way. As it is all about respect and wanting to be treated with it most overall. She has a short temper when what she says isn’t followed and forces a hard situation and a flirtatious girlfriend.

One has to give extra credit to Viola Davis for gaining most of the appropriate weight to play the character and give her the exact look which is unflattering g with gold teeth and heavy running make-up, she might not be the actual star of the movie but she gives off star presence and in believability.

Though by the end she is just a supporting character and her presence really has little effect on the actual story or drama that ends up happening In the film. By the end, she hasn’t changed. Only the situation has changed and in a more tragic way that really has nothing to do with her. Not much changes for her, but more for the secondary characters

The film ends up becoming a tragedy in a way you can see coming hit not necessarily the circumstance or the collateral damage. 

Though shocking in the end. Still wish it had been longer and a little bit stronger. It’s a tragedy you thought was going to be one kid. If one and is read ends up somewhere totally different. 

As the film had Great cinematography and details as far as art direction.

It really makes you feel like you are In The period and of course, immediately makes you aware of the limitations for its African American characters and the rampant racism.

Grade: B

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