Church Lady Review of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

voices of Fire ReviewI reviewed Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom directed by Daniel Wolf and produced by Denzell Washington and give it 10 high Praises.  Chile if this film does not win an Oscar I am going to have a problem!

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom was initially written as a play by the incredible (now deceased) playwright August Wilson, whose crowning achievement is The Pittsburgh Cycle, aka Century Cycle. August Wilson penned a series of ten plays that charts the African American experience throughout the twentieth century. All of them are set in Pittsburgh’s Hill District except for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which is set in Chicago. Oscar and- Tony winner Denzel Washington has committed to bringing all 10 of August Wilson’s Century Cycle plays to the screen; he started with Fences, which was excellent. Still, Chile, Ma Rainey Black Bottom is even more impressive.

Viola Davis who plays Ma Rainey (Mother of Blues) and Chadwick Boseman’s role (now deceased) is definitely Oscar-worthy. Viola exemplified her ability to transform into any character, and Chadwick Boseman’s last actor’s performance as Levee is OUTSTANDING, as are all the characters who partook in this endeavor. Without giving the full story away, it basically depicts how this strong-willed African American Woman lived by her own rules, despite the times and restraints surrounding her and her band members who struggle with living as a black men during that era.  This story will educate, enlighten, entertain, and break your heart all at the same time.

Centered around a one-day studio recording session with Ma Rainey (Viola Davis), her manager the production company, her lover Dussie Mae  (Taylour Paige), and her band that included acclaimed actor Glen Turman (Toledo), Michael Potts (Slow Drag), and Coman Domingo (the religious band-leader Cutler) and last but definitely not least, Chadwick Boseman (Levee) the young headstrong, can’t tell nothing buck who consistently challenges and defies the elders in the room. However, behind that defiance, we learn why Levee struggles with being mad at the world and God! His performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, I think, is the best, and we all know that is hard that was to beat! It breaks your heart as you watch this young, visibly frail talent realizing this is the last time you will be blessed by Chadwick’s Boseman’s presence in filmmaking.

Suppose you don’t watch anything else this holiday season. In that case, I strongly recommend you take the time to watch the Netflix film release of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which by the way, Kudos to Netflix for investing in quality African American cultural programming. Netflix is scheduled to release this masterpiece on December 18, 2020. Finally, I just got to give a massive shout out to Denzel Washington for putting his money where his mouth is and ensuring that August Wilson’s Century Cycle stories are told!

I offer this film at the highest rating I can – 10 High Praises; if I could give 20, I sure would Chile.