newtpotter’s review published on Letterboxd:
This was a must watch for me because of it being Chadwick Boseman’s last film! And I think that adds something to the film and makes it mean more than it already does!
I didn’t know who Ma Rainey was until I saw this film and I wish I knew more about her because she just seems like the most interesting person! Viola Davis is absolutely outstanding in a role that I feel should become one of her most famous! Even though I didn’t know much about Ma, I feel that no one else could’ve played her! Ma’s motives and beliefs were something truly respectable and empowering and that’s why I loved her portrayal here so much! And Chadwick Boseman is just as phenomenal as Davis! If Chadwick Boseman doesn’t win an Oscar this year I’ll be very upset, as will many people! He doesn’t play the most likeable of characters but he creates something so meaningful and even though he has faults, you can’t help feel sorry for him! It really is a performance I’ll never forget because it was one of the most emotional and powerful I’ve seen all year! The rest of the cast do a nice job too but no one stands out as much as Davis and Boseman! I thought the film was very good at making you feel trapped in the story because we spend most of the film in the recording studio! It made me feel like I couldn’t escape! And the cinematography is so sharp and distinct and some shots are dazzling to look at!
Overall, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is a film that I hope will get a lot of awards attention! With Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman’s stellar performances, the excellent writing and bold cinematography, it’s a fantastic drama that should be praised and cherished!