Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom ★★★★

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom frees itself of the structure of musical biopic by portraying only one evening in a recording studio. It doesn’t tell the entire story of Ma Rainey, but provides an impression of her. It doesn’t portray the lives of jazz musicians in the era, but alludes to the experiences of them. And, the choice is not only refreshing but also works as the movie becomes a portrait of ambition and opportunity in the backdrop of racism. In the midst of it all, the incredible performances emotionally heighten the experience. Chadwick Boseman seamlessly hits every single emotion in the book, and his character’s dynamic is cathartic given his untimely passing. It’s a performance of a lifetime.

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