Robert Ballou Jr. was killed for his coat!
While the common folks like us have to wait a little while longer to watch one of the most anticipated films of the season, a handful of lucky chaps have had the great opportunity to watch Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom before anybody else.
The Netflix movie, directed by George C. Wolfe, will be released on December 18th starring Viola Davis and, Chadwick Boseman, Taylour Paige, Colman Domingo, Glynn Turman, and a few other brilliant actors.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is based on a play of the same name written by August Wilson. Set in 1920s Chicago, the film depicts a band of musicians waiting in a rehearsal room as they wait for a legendary singer, Ma Rainey, to arrive. They’ve gathered to conduct a recording session. One of the band members is Levee, who is played by Chadwick Boseman.
The enthusiastic musician wants to start his band and stake his claim on the music industry. While the band waits for Ma Rainey, tensions rise amongst the group members.
When she finally arrives, she gets in a battle of wits with the white manager, and fight for control over her music. Meanwhile, Levee’s ambition for music forces him to relive his past traumas.
There have been many Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom reviews, and a majority of them are showering praises for Boseman and Davis. This is making the wait even more unbearable for us.
While we impatiently wait for December 18th, here’s something that can help you go on with the series. We’ve made a list of 4 reasons why the film will make you cry.
Can we add this movie to the most unbelievable happenings of 2020 that will make you cry!
1. It’s Chadwick Boseman’s Last Performance
Check out his final film trailer here.
News of Chadwick Boseman’s death broke the internet on August 28th this year when his family posted a statement saying the 43 years old actor had lost his life battling colon cancer. While the world was lucky enough to witness Boseman’s incredible performances in his films such as Black Panther, 42, and Marshall, we’re grateful for the chance to feast on his work one last time in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom on Netflix.
The director of the film shared details of Boseman’s performance with The Wall Street Journal. Talking about a moment on the set that made Boseman break down into tears, Wolfe said, “We were doing it in a very casual way, and I assumed that when Levee got to the big speech that Chadwick was going to stop. But he didn’t stop. He kept going, and Levee took over.
It was raw and explosive.” Wolfe continued to say that Chadwick came back to reality but wouldn’t stop sobbing, then Colman hugged him and his girlfriend picked him up.
With such an account from the director, we can only guess how touching and amazing Boseman’s performance is going to be The few fans who have had the opportunity to watch the film that Boseman could win a Posthumous Oscar.
One fan also said that Chadwick Boseman is a class act and his delivery of August Wilson’s monologues is impeccable.
2. It Explores 1920s Racism
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom contextualizes, historicizes, and humanizes Black rage in a way that’s the time needs. One of the greatest quotes of the film is by Ma Rainey when she says, “This world would be empty without the blues.” By the blues she’s referring to the inequalities and discriminations she has to face in a white-dominant society.
She’s a musician who is trying to make her mark but she has to take over many unnecessary hurdles that come her way because of her color. When Ma Rainey arrives at the music studio, the dialogues that are exchanged highlight the racial exploitation that lies at the heart of the country, it’s not only Ma Rainey who deals with racial discrimination.
Levee, the band’s trumpeter, who is ambitious about making music has to keep soliciting with white managers and music producers, this forces him to relive his past traumas. When the band members tease him about his overtly friendly and pleasing attitude towards the white recording studio executive, they say that his tough talk doesn’t suit his action.
After that, Levee tells the band members about how he was forced to watch his mother get raped by a gang of the white man when he was just a child. He also recounts how he nearly died when trying to stop it. Levee also shows his band members a scar on his chest that one of the white attackers gave him.
3. It Celebrates Black Triumph
It has been a topic of discussion in modern cinema that more Black joy and triumph should be celebrated in movies. Reviews of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom state that Wolfe has successfully managed to deliver just that.
Films such as ’12 years a slave’ and ‘Ali’ have highlighted the oppression and racism that the Black community faces. The Black experience is never portrayed without the shackles of white supremacy. This is why audiences now demand to see more Black joy than sadness.
This Netflix film celebrates Black triumph by presenting Ma Rainey as a defiant Black woman who doesn’t take anybody’s nonsense. There’s also a lot of gold and glitter in the movie with silk fabric, glorious makeup, and soulful music, all cheering on the Black experience.
4. It Has Soulful Music
Branford Marsalis composes the music for the film and there are a total of 24 tracks on the list. A couple of songs have been released by Netflix including, ‘Levee’s song.’ The arrangements composed by Marsalis not only captures the cultural and regional essence of the story and characters but also summons wit and rage in every note and moan.
After reading the many reviews of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, we can’t wait for the film to drop already. It sounds like a tasteful ride to the 1920s Chicago where we’ll have the opportunity to witness Chadwick Boseman in his element for one last time.