Review: Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
Producer Denzel Washington is seeing to it that all of August Wilson's plays make it to the big screen, and his last offering, Fences was wonderful. Here Viola Davis gives us yet another amazing performance, though this one is much more restrained. I was a bit surprised that she was more of a supporting player here. This movie truly belongs to Levee.
It's impossible for me to watch Chadwick Boseman's final performance and not feel incredibly sad. He's so good, probably the best he's ever been and it just hurts that there won't be any more of him (aside from his voice work in the up coming What If) The praise for his performance isn't just hyperbole. He takes us through Levee at his highest and lowest. He's such a ball of energy and I was immediately drawn to him. All of the principle actors in this are great, but it really is Chadwick's show.
I wasn't familiar with August Wilson's play before watching this. I hadn't read nor seen any versions, so the ending caught me off guard. I strongly dislike how this ends. I won't spoil it, but I wonder if part of it is me projecting because of Chadwick's passing. I felt like I just left this film with the worst taste in my mouth possible story wise when I was enjoying it so much beforehand. I'd love to hear everyone else's thoughts on this.
Overall, it's easily accessible on Netflix and I hope everyone gets the chance to see it. Ending aside, it's very good. It's extremely stagey, so if that's not your thing keep that in mind, but I didn't think it hurt the film in any way.
Memorable Quote: "Let me handle them my way." - Levee (Chadwick Boseman)