Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – Drama
Category – Movie
Content – Ma Rainey has been hailed as “Mother of the Blues.” This movie takes us to Chicago 1927 to a recording session for Ma. We are first introduced to her band and we watch the banter between the four players. The conversations are witty and quick. Then we are introduced to Ma, who definitely has her way of doing things, and everyone is going to do it her way or else. She is strong and demanding, but her records sell so her manager attempts to please her on every level. This movie is based on the play by August Wilson, so it is very talk talk talk. Sometimes these type of movies can get quite boring really quick, but the banter between everyone is dramatic and at times very comical. I wonder if this was how Ma Rainey really acted? If so, she must have been quite a handful! And this movie has a shocking end that I definitely did not see coming. This scores a 8 out of 10.
Acting – Viola Davis helms the late and great Ma Rainey, and seems to channel her very well. She is almost unrecognizable as Viola, you pretty much just see Ma. She is as commanding as she is soft, and Viola nailed this role like no other. Then you have the band members, played by the late Chadwick Boseman, Colman Domingo, Glynn Turman and Michael Potts. Again, the band banter was marvelous! It was dramatic, often comical and quick. All four Actors did a really tremendous job here, being that the conversation was so quick it left little room for acting errors. Good job to all! Score is 9 out of 10.
Duration – 1 hr 34 mins. I think this is a typical time for a play? When a film is lots of talk, it really cannot go too long or people will lose all interest. I believe this was a job well done here. This gets a 8 out of 10.
TOTAL INDEX for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – 25 out of 30
Recommended Watch – If you enjoy the play scene, this movie is definitely for you. Or, if you just want to watch a truly interesting film about the Mother of the Blues, grab a glass of wine and settle in for the repartee!
OSCAR BUZZ – If Netflix can get the word out about this film more, I think Viola Davis would have a shot at Best Actress. She was outstanding and even unrecognizable, I thought I was watching Ma Rainey from 1927!