Survival began with a song
The story of legendary blues performer, Bessie Smith, who rose to fame during the 1920s and '30s.
The story of legendary blues performer, Bessie Smith, who rose to fame during the 1920s and '30s.
Queen Latifah Mo'Nique Mike Epps Tika Sumpter Michael Kenneth Williams Charles S. Dutton Bryan Greenberg Oliver Platt Khandi Alexander Tory Kittles Joe Knezevich Jeremie Harris Jennifer Sears Crystal Lee Brown Terence Rosemore L. Warren Young Tia Hendricks Whitney Goin Neko Parham Kaden Washington Lewis Alkoya Brunson Todd Allen Durkin Swift Rice Jim R. Coleman Jessejames Locorriere Onira Tares Jhoni Davis Hunter Womack Christopher Harvey Show All…
藍調天后, В блюзе только Бесси
in the first 10 minutes queen latifah as bessie smith grabs a shard of glass from a broken liquor bottle and stabs a dude who gets a little too fresh with her and she later kicks a klansman in the gut sooooo it may be very biopic-y but also is that not cool as hell!
1. Bessie Smith doesn't take shit from anyone, and it is so satisfying to watch her, no matter what the circumstance. A room full of rich white people, an attack by the Klan, facing down her controlling husband... She doesn't let them walk all over her. Given the treatment of Black musicians in the U.S. (even today), her refusal to let them treat her like shit--even if it's a small victory in the grand scheme of things--is refreshing to see.
2. Khandi Alexander giving people hell is the best thing about all movies.
3. Bessie should have buried Jack Gee in her backyard.
4. Lucille Bogan deserves her own story told.
5. Biopics as a genre tend to…
It’s been quite a long time since I last watched a film with Queen Latifah as the lead and boy what a way to come back to her filmography.
Bessie embodies the representation of upfront, confrontational confidence through its female protagonist in a way that is unwavering and unbelievably refreshing. Nothing says “Happy Black History Month” like watching Queen Latifah bodycheck KKK members. While the plot follows the typical motions of a musician biopic, Dee Rees makes the film shine extra bright through it’s authentic depiction of Bessie Smith’s bisexuality. After seeing Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom this past December, Ma Rainey’s portrayal here, particularly in her mentorship to Bessie, felt especially captivating.
A wonderful, wonderful film with enough sparkle to catch anyone’s eye.
As much as I love Gaga, I still don't see how she beat out Queen Latifah for the Golden Globe. Also, this is a prime example of the reason why queer black female filmmakers making films about queer black women is essential because I could only have guessed how things would have went astray without Dee Rees at the helm. (Even if the film still gives the biopic formula, but we won't go too far into that.)
Wow. Queen Latifah is a force of nature as Bessie Smith. She commands the screen unlike she ever has before, she tears up the scenery and chews every scene like mad. This look at Bessie Smith’s life and career is fantastic, Latifah is perfect to play this larger than life character, easily her finest hour. A lot of hoohah about Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom recently, which was great, this is better, and I say if you loved that then also watch this. The songs, the outfits, the attitude, so damn good. Extremely gay too, I love seeing Latifah playing lesbians, she seems so at home in those characters.
An ever-so-ordinary HBO biopic about Bessie Smith. Some fine performances: Mo'Nique surprises as Ma Rainey. And Queen Latifah gives it her all in the title role; but it doesn't quite ring down and dirty enough. Good production values...the setting is expensively authentic. But I didn't finish the all-too-abrupt, seemingly unfinished ending of the movie feeling that I had any real understanding of Bessie, her music, and especially her soul.
It's often uneven and it's rather fairly conventional in its storytelling and structure, but HBO's Bessie is nonetheless a compelling, thoughtful, and emotionally resonant biopic featuring a career-best performance from Queen Latifah and a great deal of sincerity.
The conventional biopic structure does it a disservice; the plot often feels rushed and underbaked, while most of the characters surrounding Bessie are underdeveloped. But Dee Rees works her magic and there are some really wonderful moments in here. And Queen Latifah is mesmerizing!
If Queen Latifah could please allow me the honour of having my neck snapped by her, that would be greatly appreciated.
While it's too much traditional music biopic for me to like it as I could, I respect Dee going out of her way to show Queer voices in the plot. Dee Rees went out of her way to show Bessie was a Bisexual woman who didn't hold her sexulaity back during her lifetime, offen sleeping with multiple partners on both sides. Dee even goes out of her way to show other Black women like Ma Rainey, who, while I couldn't find any super definite info on her wearing a suit like she does in the movie, was similarly known to flaut her bisexulaity in songs and life like the offen sited "Put it on me blues" and her notorious "Party"…
Movie #1 of 2020 Queer Film Challenge.
Task #1: A film directed by Dee Rees
A good and solid biopic but I would have loved to see it dig a little psychologically. You get a little insight to her behavior but I would have liked to see the script take it further than that.
Queen Latifah is excellent in the title role and deserves all the awards that she got for her performance in this film.
For my Final Paper in one of my English classes this past semester, I wrote a paper on the poet Robert Hayden and one of his poems, "Homage to the Empress of the Blues", was about Bessie Smith. Since I was talking about both the poet and the poem in my paper, I had to do some research on Bessie Smith as well. She seemed like a really interesting woman so all of that made me interested in seeing this Bessie Smith biopic.
Coming out of it, there wasn't too much to write home about with this movie.
Maybe it's because I came into this with a big ole sinus headache and it's hard for me to enjoy anything when…
Queen latifah is amazing
Standard Hollywood biopic treatment of a compelling subject is competent but lacks guts.
I'm so relieved that this film ended on a positive note. Too many biopics focus on dramaticising tragedy, Bessie instead mostly focuses on her achievements and fearlessness.
Of course, it does also portray her darkest moments but does so genuinely, it treats her dark moments with the same delicacy with which her better moment are shown.
I do feel like it tried to pack too much into its 110mins length, a lot is touched upon but perhaps it would've been better to focus on less and explore that with further depth.
Dee Rees once again proves herself to be a writer/director to keep an eye on, her work is molding cinema.
Mostly a conventional biopic but Queen Latifah is everything to me
Bessie is a formulaic biopic that never explores the psychology of its subject in an interesting or compelling way. The film simply presents Bessie Smith's life rather than exploring how her abusive childhood has affected her, how her bisexuality affected her marriage, and how so many aspects of her life will have affected her even slightly.
Queen Latifah gives a great performance, but given how weak the script is, she only does her best with what she was given.
The film itself is beautiful to look at, having great production, costume and makeup design; but, unfortunately, Bessie is a style-over-substance affair.
Bessie (2015, Dee Rees)
1910s-1930s: Bessie Smith (Queen Latifah) is desperate to escape her tragic childhood home & sees her voice as a way out. Initially mentored by Ma Rainey (Mo'Nique), we then track her up/down career + complex (often violent) romantic life with men/women.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
cannot recommend this movie enough!!! made me see the ma rainey movie in much better light, although i still think dee rees's + mo'nique's portrayal of her (and queen latifah as bessie smith) lesbian relationships is more compassionate
some parts i want to remember:
- the lil girl singing her song!!!
- ma rainey buying bessie smith's record to dance to
- scene where she and clarence watch people waving to their train
- viola giving her the photo of her mom
- clarence taking care of her...
- the book of songs john hammond made
- ma rainey DRAG KING PERFORMANCE !!!
Despite being a biopic unable to escape some of those expected terrible and exhausting moments, this is mostly very enjoyable and I side with liking it. I especially loved seeing Bessie not take shit from anyone in any situation. (Was not surprised to learn she was an Aries).
Queen Latifah and Mo’Nique are both so incredible. If only all these biopics we suffer through year after year could boast performances on their level...
Happy Birthday, Queen Latifah! ♓️ 👑
Loses momentum in the last half compared to the beginning, but I really liked how much Rees focuses on audience interactions. Few music biopics treat audiences as a presence, much less as recognizable characters who are interacting with the singer’s art. This thread stays through the whole film.
Queen Latifah and Mo’Nique are both fantastic. Their scenes together have that spark.
Also love to see joyous butch representation!
queen latifah as brown skin lesbian blues jazz singer in the 20s??? this movie was ahead of its time
there is something so soothing about queen latifah's voice -- i don't know what it is, but i don't care as long as i can keep hearing it, sung or spoken
if you're looking for a historical queer bipoc perspective, you might like this movie about Bessie Smith, a blues singer who rose to fame in the 1920s featuring lots of great music sung by Queen Latifah.
if you're looking for something to read after listening to this, try Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde. if you're looking for something to listen to, try albums Overgrown by Ivy Sole or Dirty Computer by Janelle Monáe.
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