Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom ★★★★

Hard not to compare to the other recent filmed August Wilson play produced by Denzel Washington and co-starring Viola Davis (Fences). This one is infinitely better - enough is added to make it feel more cinematic, but the core remains. The camera knows when to move, when to cut, and when to focus on the actors. Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman are acting powerhouses, and that's clearly the draw.

Best viewed remembering this is a screenplay for theatre, not a film. There are monologues, and emotions flair sometimes irrationally quickly for dramatic effect. Much more enjoyable when recognizing the origins.