I recently watched Netflix’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and wanted to share my thoughts. Before we get started, check out the following trailer if you haven’t seen it already.
The year is 1927, and the place is Chicago, IL. Blues singer Ma Rainey (Davis) and her band are scheduled for a recording session on a hot summer day. Drama ensues between Rainey, her management, and rebellious trumpet player Levee (Boseman), leaving the band and others defeated.
Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman together onscreen initially sparked my interest in this film, and a quarter of the way through, I understood why. They’re phenomenal actors. From the accents to the mannerisms to the monologues, their performances alone were enough for me. But it didn’t stop there.
The cinematography told another story within a story, depicting Black life in the early twentieth century as poetic and authentic as possible. With blues music being a pivotal part of African American culture and storytelling, George C. Wolfe did a great job tying the aesthetics and sound of that time together.
Surprisingly, the character that I enjoyed the most was Ma Rainey’s nephew, Sylvester. Being the underdog but having spunk and an attitude are traits that I can relate to on a personal level, so championing those characters are inevitable.
If you’re looking for an enjoyable period piece with depth, swag, and beautiful scenery, check out Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
Grade of A
Until Next Time…