Netflix | Release Date: November 25, 2020
6.6
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 160 Ratings
USER RATING DISTRIBUTION
Positive:
105
Mixed:
30
Negative:
25
Watch Now
Stream On
Review this movie
VOTE NOW
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Check box if your review contains spoilers 0 characters (5000 max)
8
TVJerryDec 4, 2020
Ma Rainey was considered “Mother of the Blues” and this film is a fictionalized account of a 1927 recording session based on the play by August Wilson. This not a musical or even a narrative. It’s more about the characters and theirMa Rainey was considered “Mother of the Blues” and this film is a fictionalized account of a 1927 recording session based on the play by August Wilson. This not a musical or even a narrative. It’s more about the characters and their conflicts. Viola Davis (in lots of makeup and a fat suit) embodies Ma with intimating gusto. The biggest clash comes from her rambunctious trumpeter (Chadwick Boseman in an electrifying final performance). Being that it’s taken from a Wilson play, you can expect extended monologues about traumatic event in pasts of the major players. Even with that, this is a compelling showcase for all of the actors, George C. Wolfe’s direction keeps it crisp and absorbing. Interesting fact: Davis won the Oscar for Best Supporting in 2017 for her role in Fences, another Wilson play adapted for the screen. Expand
3 of 3 users found this helpful30
All this user's reviews
7
moviemitch96Dec 19, 2020
In this film, adapted from August Wilson's 1982 play of the same name, Viola Davis stars as eccentric and famed blues singer Gertrude 'Ma' Rainey, who finds herself collaborating with a small jazz band in 1920s Chicago. The story is prettyIn this film, adapted from August Wilson's 1982 play of the same name, Viola Davis stars as eccentric and famed blues singer Gertrude 'Ma' Rainey, who finds herself collaborating with a small jazz band in 1920s Chicago. The story is pretty straightforward and simple enough, and because it was adapted from a play, it definitely felt very limited in this regard (much like Wilson's other play-turned-film 'Fences' from 4 years ago that also starred Davis.) In other words, it felt a little too much like I was watching a play instead of a film the whole time, which isn't to say that it detracted from the film's quality, as the set pieces and atmosphere did a fine job of taking me back to the roaring 20s. The real draw here, however, is the performances. Viola Davis is in top form her as the titular Ma Rainey, as she acts and sings her heart out like nobody's business. We're also treated to arguably a career-best (and sadly final) performance from the late, great 'Black Panther' star Chadwick Boseman, who will charm the pants off of you in some scenes, but touch and stir your soul in many others. Both stars are very much worthy of awards consideration this year! Storywise, like I said, it feels pretty straightforward, and the stakes are never especially high, but it makes for a smooth, sleek, and fun watch overall. Just come for the fantastic performances and stay for some great fun and music and you won't be disappointed. Expand
2 of 2 users found this helpful20
All this user's reviews
7
HerickDienerDec 18, 2020
"Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" é um filme com problemas, mas que são diluídos pelas ótimas intepretações de Viola Davis e Chadwick Boseman (para ser sincero, todo o elenco faz um belo trabalho). Porém, eu realmente estava mais interessado na"Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" é um filme com problemas, mas que são diluídos pelas ótimas intepretações de Viola Davis e Chadwick Boseman (para ser sincero, todo o elenco faz um belo trabalho). Porém, eu realmente estava mais interessado na história de Ma Rainey, interrompida constantemente pelos dilemas do personagem Levee Green, apesar do título do longa. Além disso, pelo fato de ser uma adaptação do teatro, o roteiro conta com diálogos super longos, o que faz você se sentir assistindo a uma peça ao invés de um filme, gerando uma opinião pessoal negativa ou positiva do espectador. No meu caso, os longos diálogos de Levee e seus companheiros fizeram a narrativa de Ma Rainey ficar mais apagada ainda, causando um desequilíbrio no filme. Mas, no fim das contas, é um privilégio poder ver Viola sendo um monstro em cena e o eterno Chadwick em seu último filme. Expand
2 of 2 users found this helpful20
All this user's reviews
8
mrmonsterDec 18, 2020
An excellent film, and an excellent sendoff for Chadwick Boseman. I certainly hope he gets an Oscar nomination for his final role.
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
All this user's reviews
8
joelgreenbergDec 20, 2020
yes, we know the film is adapted from wilson's play of the same name. still, that doesn't prevent us from entering this world wholly willing to accept its reality. apart from wolfe's occasional 'assistance', as he uses images to punctuate hisyes, we know the film is adapted from wilson's play of the same name. still, that doesn't prevent us from entering this world wholly willing to accept its reality. apart from wolfe's occasional 'assistance', as he uses images to punctuate his points, the film is an intimate and personal portrait of a time in history we need to experience however we can. boseman's performance is certain to garner awards, as indeed it should, and davis's power to hold the screen, and anyone who dares mess with her, is shattering at the same time that it is terrifying.
the

i've neither seen nor read the play, but i imagine the film's final, scene was created for the film - regardless, the final moment is the most chilling, sobering scene i've experienced in years.
Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
All this user's reviews
7
OlavLJan 16, 2021
A movie with glaring problems, held together by strong dialogue and even stronger performances. The absolute un-necessity of certain scenes and characters ultimately damages the film to such an extent that I really can't say I enjoyed theA movie with glaring problems, held together by strong dialogue and even stronger performances. The absolute un-necessity of certain scenes and characters ultimately damages the film to such an extent that I really can't say I enjoyed the duration of the film. But, with a heart wrenching conclusion, and the best male performance of the year from Chadwick Boseman, it is worth seeing, even if just to enjoy parts of what could have been an amazing whole. Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
All this user's reviews
8
mattaluckDec 20, 2020
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is a play by August Wilson, which developed into a movie, with the stage play background of the script, the full on-and-on dialogue in the movie make you feel like it's still stagy, but cinematography deliver ofMa Rainey's Black Bottom is a play by August Wilson, which developed into a movie, with the stage play background of the script, the full on-and-on dialogue in the movie make you feel like it's still stagy, but cinematography deliver of 1920's Chicago. Chadwick Boseman's Levee raw and deep emotion telling his story about his mother and father, mother's gangrape, and his belief of god, Boseman is truly fantastic. Viola Davis is not convincing as a singer of Ma Rainey, she failed of the lip-syning performance, her mouth is not conving me she is singing, obviously there voice-over on the singing as Viola did sing a little bit, Viola did not understand the physiology of mouth when human is singing. Overall, her performance is great, sometimes she slip a little modern accent, but the sad thing is her character is underdevelopment, not enough back story, other than her explanation of how white men took advantages of her voice, almost all the time in diva mood. Colman Domingo, Glynn Turman and Michael Potts are all great supporting act. Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
All this user's reviews
10
CriticCxDec 19, 2020
I thought it was a lovely movie, and a great performance by Viola Davis. You can tell that she embodies any character given to her, and that is why she is always amazing.
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
All this user's reviews
7
CDiggoryJan 9, 2021
I thought the plot was really slow, but I don't have anything negative to say about the acting, ESPECIALLY from Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman. It was weird seeing the Black Panther I know and love speaking in a Southern accent. However,I thought the plot was really slow, but I don't have anything negative to say about the acting, ESPECIALLY from Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman. It was weird seeing the Black Panther I know and love speaking in a Southern accent. However, except for the emotional scenes, I didn't think there was very much story to it. Maybe that was the point, idk. Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
All this user's reviews
5
Wolfie2Feb 27, 2021
Why is the rating for this movie 87? it is more or less the same as fences but not as good as fences? i can only assume the current political climate and the passing of Boseman lead to the high rating which is a shame the movie is not judgedWhy is the rating for this movie 87? it is more or less the same as fences but not as good as fences? i can only assume the current political climate and the passing of Boseman lead to the high rating which is a shame the movie is not judged based on its **** Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
All this user's reviews
6
tropicAcesNov 25, 2020
Everything is fantastic, except the script. Boseman gives a great swan song performance, and the costumes and production design deserve Oscar nominations. The issue is the screenplay, which doesn’t know how to make things organically flow.Everything is fantastic, except the script. Boseman gives a great swan song performance, and the costumes and production design deserve Oscar nominations. The issue is the screenplay, which doesn’t know how to make things organically flow. Still worth checking out for Chad, though Expand
5 of 6 users found this helpful51
All this user's reviews
3
Camwhit0196Feb 27, 2021
I hate to speak ill of the dead but Chadwick is not good in this movie. He does alot of shouting and talking about racism but thats about it. Viola is actually very good when she shows up and i enjoyed the parts which involved her alot more.I hate to speak ill of the dead but Chadwick is not good in this movie. He does alot of shouting and talking about racism but thats about it. Viola is actually very good when she shows up and i enjoyed the parts which involved her alot more. The production design looks like a cheap made for tv movie and the only good thing was the costumes. Expand
2 of 3 users found this helpful21
All this user's reviews
10
alejandro970Dec 19, 2020
Did you get the blues? Based on real events, about the difficult path that would be to record a music album: the demands of the artist, the tensions between the musicians, the technical failures. Viola Davis is surprising, and it's nice toDid you get the blues? Based on real events, about the difficult path that would be to record a music album: the demands of the artist, the tensions between the musicians, the technical failures. Viola Davis is surprising, and it's nice to see Chadwick Boseman in his last performance. For those who like music. Expand
1 of 2 users found this helpful11
All this user's reviews
10
donksongsDec 20, 2020
Masterful. In that title role, Viola Davis has crafted an icon for the ages. If we are lucky, this cohort will give us a version of all of August Wilson's plays.
1 of 2 users found this helpful11
All this user's reviews
6
CameronW9Nov 25, 2020
So i've heard all the praise surrounding this film and the performances so i made sure to see it as soon as possible and i was let down. The film consists of lots of loud dramatic monologing and the fact that it comes from a play is clear.So i've heard all the praise surrounding this film and the performances so i made sure to see it as soon as possible and i was let down. The film consists of lots of loud dramatic monologing and the fact that it comes from a play is clear. Sure the actors were fine but it was nothing particularly ground-breaking as the reviews make it out to be.
Like Fences it has similar themes and the characters have similar overly dramatic monologs which it seems the people who have seen this have taken as an incredible feat of acting for some reason. However in my opinion it just seemed forced and again too stagy.
I think people are rating this film on obvious tragic factors which do not involve the film itself which is a shame and quite disappointing as they should be judging the film on its merits as they would any other film but that seems to be to much to ask of people currently.
Overall this film is ok, it has highly contrived dramatic speeches and the sets, costume, lighting and the general technical aspects of the film are nice. However it it too heavy handed in its handling of the story and the actors are sometimes guilty of overacting.
Expand
4 of 9 users found this helpful45
All this user's reviews
9
lonewolfe420Dec 14, 2020
I am not sure how the general public will enjoy the film, but I simply marveled at it. The movie is based on a play, and you can clearly see the stage aspect of the film, but the director does a good job of keeping you engaged.

The acting a
I am not sure how the general public will enjoy the film, but I simply marveled at it. The movie is based on a play, and you can clearly see the stage aspect of the film, but the director does a good job of keeping you engaged.

The acting a 10.
The story is a 10.
The music is a 10.

So why did I give it a 9?

Well, the movie is only 90 minutes, 3 acts, to be precise.

I wanted more singing from Ma, I wanted a musical, but got a film with music.

I wanted to learn more about Ma, but instead, I learned most about Levvy. This movie moved me, we are all leftovers, but won't know it until we realize we are left over.
Expand
1 of 3 users found this helpful12
All this user's reviews
9
heltondrewDec 19, 2020
Sensational. An acting masterclass from the entire ensemble but especially Davis and the effervescent Boseman. What a role to mark your curtain call!
1 of 4 users found this helpful13
All this user's reviews
10
NadiggDec 18, 2020
Give Viola Davis another Oscar and give Chadwick Boseman one too!!! Their performances were outstanding.
1 of 4 users found this helpful13
All this user's reviews
2
Mauro_LanariDec 24, 2020
(Mauro Lanari)
This doesn't even feel like a play adapted for film. It's really just a theatrical play that was filmed, an uninterrupted river of words, indeed sermons, each more boring than the other. No trace of cinematic art. Farewell to
(Mauro Lanari)
This doesn't even feel like a play adapted for film. It's really just a theatrical play that was filmed, an uninterrupted river of words, indeed sermons, each more boring than the other. No trace of cinematic art. Farewell to Boseman and hopefully to Wakanda.
Expand
1 of 4 users found this helpful13
All this user's reviews
6
perryat02Dec 19, 2020
Kind of disappointing tbh Not enough Viola too much Boseman. Not engaging and pretensious
1 of 4 users found this helpful13
All this user's reviews
2
deadangel04Dec 22, 2020
Chadwick Boseman was a really good actor and before his untimely passing he had already given us one amazing, Oscar-worthy performance that was sadly ignored by the Academy. That was portraying Jackie Robinson, a really great andChadwick Boseman was a really good actor and before his untimely passing he had already given us one amazing, Oscar-worthy performance that was sadly ignored by the Academy. That was portraying Jackie Robinson, a really great and inspirational character in the movie "42". His acting here is still pretty good, but his character is not inspirational at all and he doesn't resemble a real character, a real person, he actually feels like a caricature as all of the characters in "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom". Even Ma Rainey, who was an actual person and not a fictional character as the rest of them, feels like a caricature despite Viola Davis' amazing performance. Unfortunately it's not easy to adapt a play into a movie and as a film, "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" is subpar, lacking a good script, solid characters, actual build-up, focus, any essence at all. I mean, what was the point after all? The emotion is there in some scenes, but it doesn't lead anywhere and in that regard, those scenes feel pointless in the end. And this film isn't even about the music as some people might think. Not at all actually! This isn't even a proper antiracist movie. And the ending was the worst and the most unsatisfying movie ending I've seen in a while. Seriously now, Chadwick Boseman deserved better... Expand
1 of 4 users found this helpful13
All this user's reviews
0
UncleWillardDec 4, 2020
ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. The only reason this is getting the reviews it is getting is because it's a black story. In reality, it's been done to death in better ways. Totally boring. Chaswick Boseman is not a great actor. He just died tragically young.
4 of 17 users found this helpful413
All this user's reviews
10
katezoeDec 20, 2020
The performances by Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman are spectacular. The underlying story is heartbreaking. Direction by George C. Wolf is wonderful. One of the best films of 2020.
1 of 6 users found this helpful15
All this user's reviews
10
mohammadhoseinjDec 27, 2020
This movie touches your heart and has some of the most incredible actings of the year. Chadwick Boseman is the best actor of 2020 without hesitation and makes you laugh and makes you cry. What a beautiful, thoughtfully, poetic adaption. What a Film.
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
All this user's reviews
8
RenffurDec 24, 2020
This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" has quite a few undertones that could potentially slip past some viewers. However, I feel this film was beautifully crafted, Boseman's performance is amazing and Viola Davis acts Ma Rainey out in such a way that makes her genuinely likable. The film is mainly based on the play of the same name, so expect nothing more than a proper adaptation. It is mostly in one location but builds upon itself and its mutters very nicely in a short duration. "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" is thought-provoking, funny, and often emotional in this 90-minute film. Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
All this user's reviews
10
KellysndDec 27, 2020
Um filme que tinha tudo para ser chato mas não é
um show de atuação que merece alguns oscars
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
All this user's reviews
10
LISOCHIKOTOSAFeb 23, 2021
This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. One of my favorite films i watched in 2020. The performances from Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman, Glynn Turman and Taylour Paige are absolutely phenomenal. The film is relatively short but it cuts to the bone, exploring various themes and shedding light on America in the 1920's. Viola did such a great job portraying a very strong-willed, larger than life character.This was also Chadwick's last performance and he gave it his all. He did absolutely well in his role and he has done us proud. The costumes, lighting and setting were pretty good as well. I am still in awe. Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
All this user's reviews
7
IanobJan 19, 2021
Great acting but play may have been cut down too much too allow it to reach its full emotional impact. A fitting epitaph to the talent of Chadwick Boseman who is exceptional.
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
All this user's reviews
8
JalemanyJan 1, 2021
For me it did not completely worked as a film, but watching it is more than worth it given the awesomely impressive acting and performances. Don't miss the short documentary that complements the film.
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
6
Brent_MarchantJan 9, 2021
When all the makings of a great film are in place, one expects to see an outstanding picture. Unfortunately, that's not the case with "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom." While most of its ingredients are indeed noteworthy -- superb production values,When all the makings of a great film are in place, one expects to see an outstanding picture. Unfortunately, that's not the case with "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom." While most of its ingredients are indeed noteworthy -- superb production values, stellar writing, and the positively exceptional performances by Chadwick Boseman (his final role), Viola Davis and Glynn Turman -- the components just don't mesh into a cohesive whole. Instead, viewers get an overly stagey production that consists of a series of insightful and eloquent soliloquies interspersed among occasional (though one might easily say far too few) musical numbers and meticulously orchestrated comic relief moments. Regrettably, the finished product feels more like parts of a story that got haphazardly glued together rather than a harmoniously blended composite, essentially a day in the life of the Mother of the Blues and the various individuals she interacted with on that day but not offering much depth about the relevance, meaning or legacy of those involvements. Consequently, despite the film's strengths, viewers are likely to come away from this offering wanting more than they get, and that's unfortunate, both for audiences and for Ma Rainey, both of whom definitely deserve better. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
6
MattBrady99Dec 20, 2020
"Why did you step on my shoe?"

'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom' is beautifully written character study that is glued together by fantastic music and costumes. The movie is an hour and 34 minutes long, yet leaves no room for filler, only the
"Why did you step on my shoe?"

'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom' is beautifully written character study that is glued together by fantastic music and costumes. The movie is an hour and 34 minutes long, yet leaves no room for filler, only the nitty-gritty of things.

Based on a stage play by August Wilson, the movie is structured and staged almost like a theatrical production, remarkably like 'Fences', another August Wilson adaptation. I think all of Wilson's film adaptations should approach this kind of style, because it helps make his work stand out from the other movie adaptations in a unique way.

Viola Davis is terrific as "Mother of the Blues," Ma Rainey. Me calling her amazing isn't anything new, because when has Davis ever given a mediocre performance.

Chadwick Boseman....wow. Not since Peter Finch in 'Network' and Heath Ledger in 'The Dark Knight', as an actor made his final bow on screen so legendary. I can only describe his performance as both heart-breaking and epic. With his death in mind, the scenes where his character goes into long and heated monologues that later changes its aim and point towards God; asking why the lord hates him so much for him to suffer, asking him to strike him down, yelling at the top of his brittle voice and tearful eyes, to strike him down where he stands, almost begging to be set free from the torment he had to endure for most of his life. Scenes like that hit differently now. Incredibly powerful.
Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
10
DrBlahBlahApr 22, 2021
A better play than a film, it nonetheless has outstanding performances and reminds us of what we've lost in Boseman's death. RIP.
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
6
JLuis_001Dec 22, 2020
A part of this film disappointed me, more than anything because the way in which it constructs its tale forces the situations in order that each scene reflects a social commentary, consequently there's very little that can be said to be aA part of this film disappointed me, more than anything because the way in which it constructs its tale forces the situations in order that each scene reflects a social commentary, consequently there's very little that can be said to be a true story, it's more like an anecdote.

Ma Rainey was a daring figure. The so-called Mother of Blues, was one of the first singers of the genre to be recorded, but in the film there is very little of her, if we speak seriously.

But certainly the marketing knows its strengths, and brings to the spotlight the mainstays of this story: Viola Davis and the late Chadwick Boseman.

For Viola Davis it's another showcase to continue demonstrating her talent as an actress, while for Chadwick Boseman it becomes a tribute to his career, considering that he delivers one of his best performances.
I can safely assure that both will get nominations for their roles in the upcoming awards season.
Will they win some? Of that I'm not sure at all. Almost the entire film takes place in a recording studio, so there's barely changes of tone or pace in the narrative, so it's easy to say that this film won't be for all kind of audiences, but still is an excellent performance vehicle for its two lead actors, which in the end, is the best reason to watch this film.
Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
6
Iamcritical86Mar 26, 2021
This wasn't as good as I was hoping. Viola Davis's screen presence was superb, however, but the rest of the picture was a drag. I didn't very much care for the long, dragged out scenes with all the yammering and bickering between the bandThis wasn't as good as I was hoping. Viola Davis's screen presence was superb, however, but the rest of the picture was a drag. I didn't very much care for the long, dragged out scenes with all the yammering and bickering between the band members. It felt like the story was more about THEM than Ma Rainey. I didn't care for the ending either - how it just dropped off the way it did, and Viola should've had a bigger part. With a stronger script and more of Viola, this film would have scored much better with me.... but we got what we got! Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
7
ahmedaiman1999Jan 19, 2021
Like 2016's Fences, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is a Viola Davis's starring film adaptation of an August Wilson play. From its limited setting (and by that I refer to the sets as well as the time) and the complete reliance on the dialogue in itsLike 2016's Fences, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is a Viola Davis's starring film adaptation of an August Wilson play. From its limited setting (and by that I refer to the sets as well as the time) and the complete reliance on the dialogue in its storytelling approach, I could easily tell after a couple of minutes into the movie that it was originally a play—for better or worse.

Whilst the theatrical nature sometimes managed to render some scenes a musical flavour that proved refreshing and invigorating, they hindered the cinematic form—and in turn experience— and restrained the real power of August's work, preventing it from fully fleshing out. Consequently, we are only able to sense glimpses of the play's dramatic heft. Likewise, the importance of Wilson's message, which can be applied to social and political climate, is blatantly undermined by the movie's lack of cinematic feel. Granted, Davis and Boseman's characters here are formidable driving forces that redeemed many of these shortcomings. Ma Rainey and Levee, played by Davis and Boseman respectively, are like two opposites that share a common purpose. They have some kind of a tumultuous relationship due to a number of reasons, one of them is their different approaches of dealing with white capitalists. Viola Davis further cements her as an actress who is capable of topping herself over and over again. She makes it look easy to just disappear into many different characters or carry a movie with just her bona fide acting. And I believe that her performance as the eponymous character here should garner her an Oscar nod at the very least. That said, she definitely didn't carry this movie single-handedly as the late Chadwick Boseman delivered what might be the finest performance in his short yet diverse career. Interestingly, I believe that his theatrical performance here did actually bolster the emotional side of the story and, by and large, the viewing experience. This is a performance that's indisputably worthy to earn him a posthumous Oscar. (7/10)
Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
8
theredskyFeb 9, 2021
It’s poetic that Chadwick Boseman’s final performance is easily his best. Boseman’s performance is absolutely incredible and powerful. His character is so wonderfully developed and interesting and that’s due to the good screenplay. It isn’t aIt’s poetic that Chadwick Boseman’s final performance is easily his best. Boseman’s performance is absolutely incredible and powerful. His character is so wonderfully developed and interesting and that’s due to the good screenplay. It isn’t a great screenplay but it isn’t bad either. Boseman though, makes the script sound much much better. Viola Davis also does an incredible job too. Her performance and Boseman’s are easily some of my favorites of the entire year. All of the other performances are pretty good too but my issue is that some of these characters who are kinda interesting don’t get that much development. It doesn’t kill the movie in any way but I wish they had a little more development. I didn’t expect the movie to take place in one setting but it did and I thought it worked very well for the film. Keeping the story very self contained helps with the pacing and emotional weight to the film as you know something is going to happen but you don’t know when or where. The reason the film is so self contained is that it’s based on a play of the same name. If you know that it’s based on a play, then the self contained story makes sense. The film looks visually very nice and it has a good score and good sound editing. Viola Davis has an absolutely incredible voice and I really hope that that was actually Boseman on the trumpet. I would highly recommend checking this out as it’s up there on my favorites of the year. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
8
Stream2BigScreeJan 5, 2021
Happy New Year, Streamers! We're still in the thick of the winter movie season when all of the prestige flicks are crowding the cinemas and home theaters. Netflix has a full stable and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is one of its best. Picture it:Happy New Year, Streamers! We're still in the thick of the winter movie season when all of the prestige flicks are crowding the cinemas and home theaters. Netflix has a full stable and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is one of its best. Picture it: Chicago, 1927. A recording session. Tensions rise between Ma Rainey, her ambitious horn player and the white management determined to control the uncontrollable "Mother of the Blues". Based on Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson's play, George C. Wolfe directs this adaptation to great success.

Adapting a play can be a difficult transition since the medium of film allows for the expansion of the theatrical world. Ma Rainey's Black Bottom takes place in basically two rooms, so it can feel quite static and claustrophobic. Be that as it may, the themes and the language of the play is so dynamic that it's still captivating. The ensemble cast works very well together. Viola Davis is Ma Rainey with all the bravado and a physical transformation that enhances her every move. Chadwick Boseman plays the trumpeter in Ma's band, Levee. Levee aches to break out on his own and grab his own spotlight - literally and figuratively. Boseman's every line is infused with that passion. Glynn Turman, Colman Domingo, and Michael Potts round out the members of the band, who spar with Levee and attempt to make it through the recording session. The scenes of all of them together are worth the price of admission itself.

The most difficult part of watching Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is seeing this great performance given by Chadwick Boseman and knowing that it is the last bit of greatest captured for the actor in his prime. He has powerful monologues that are delivered with great depth of emotion. Boseman was giving it his all. Viola Davis is equally great. She walks in as Ma Rainey and takes over every scene. Davis may have less screen time than Boseman, but not a second, a movement, a look or line delivery is wasted. I've never seen Viola Davis like this and she turns it out.

Beyond the performances, the production does so well to bring this hot Chicago day in 1927 to life. The costumes look great. The make-up and body work on Viola Davis complete that picture of Ma as a woman in control. The design of the practice room and recording studio feel authentic. It all just comes together beautifully, and Wolfe directs this tense and potentially heavy film with such care allowing themes to come to life without feeling heavy-handed. At less than 90 minutes, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom moves at such a steady pace that it's easy to watch multiple times. My only knock is the ending being a bit random and seems to come out of nowhere.

Ultimately, I really loved Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. The entire ensemble is so good and anchored by award-worthy performances from the leads, Boseman and Davis. While the themes can be sobering, the film is not dour - it is lively and entertaining throughout. Take your big box of popcorn and let Ma Rainey's Black Bottom put you in a trance. You'll get that reference when you see the film.
Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
7
pedroassugeniDec 22, 2020
This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. A ideia do filme é incrível, mas a execução deixou a decepcionou; o foco principal não foi a mãe do blues e sim seu trompetista e os relatos pessoais dos membros da banda, perdendo a oportunidade de aprofundar na história da mãe, do ritmo blues e principalmente na caracterização incrível da Viola, as atuações e o trabalho de artes são ótimos, mas o resto deixou muito a desejar Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
9
r96skFeb 28, 2021
Excellent!

'Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom' features great performances from Viola Davis (Ma) and Chadwick Boseman (Levee). Their characters aren't flawless, yet Davis and Boseman make them each a fascinating watch; the latter has one
Excellent!

'Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom' features great performances from Viola Davis (Ma) and Chadwick Boseman (Levee). Their characters aren't flawless, yet Davis and Boseman make them each a fascinating watch; the latter has one film-stealing scene. They both truly give their all. The other cast members, spearheaded by Colman Domingo (Cutler), are good as well.

The plot is riveting and very well told, with near perfect pacing and an astutely chosen run time; a 2hr film, for example, would've dragged. The end scene is a noteworthy one, also. There is a lot to enjoy here, even for a story filled with sadness and injustice. Highly recommend.
Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
8
Movie_FreakJan 28, 2021
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is a very good movie. It doesn't go the normal way other musicals do, but has a lot of unique style and focus on character conflict and emotions. The costumes are amazing, like the performances. Boseman and Davis giveMa Rainey's Black Bottom is a very good movie. It doesn't go the normal way other musicals do, but has a lot of unique style and focus on character conflict and emotions. The costumes are amazing, like the performances. Boseman and Davis give probably the best performances of their career, and the supporting cast like Turman and Domingo are both really good too. The editing, makeup and production design are superb, with some great sets and editing during the music recording scene. However, this films has some pacing issues, and gets quite boring after it's exciting premise. But other than that, it's a very sold film that also highlights important issues like racism. The character conflict is dealt with really well with some superb dialogues and banter. Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is one of the better films of 2020 and should get recognition at the Oscars for various major and technical categories. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
6
henryzandtDec 18, 2020
Ma Rainey disappointed me. Probably because I was expecting a film about Ma Rainey's life. It is not. It is more like a day in the life of Ma Rainey. A film (and actually a screened play) about racial contradictions. Relevant, but not theMa Rainey disappointed me. Probably because I was expecting a film about Ma Rainey's life. It is not. It is more like a day in the life of Ma Rainey. A film (and actually a screened play) about racial contradictions. Relevant, but not the biography I wanted to see. The leading role is actually not for Viola Davis (Ma Rainey) but for Chadwick Boseman (Levee). Great acting, beautiful atmosphere, though. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
7
sbastosDec 20, 2020
Screenplay and direction in Ma Rainey´s Black Bottom have merit but cannot avoid the trap of the filmed play. Viola Davis is a must. Chadwick Boseman has three very good scenes, but as a whole, he is several tones above. Very irregular,Screenplay and direction in Ma Rainey´s Black Bottom have merit but cannot avoid the trap of the filmed play. Viola Davis is a must. Chadwick Boseman has three very good scenes, but as a whole, he is several tones above. Very irregular, typical case of overacting. Perhaps, as a consequence of a theater director and a relatively short career. Viola Davis on the other hand escapes this exaggerated theatrical tone. She deserves all the praise and leading acting awards, even with a small screen time. Glynn Turman´s work as the pianist must be highlighted. Unfortunately, under the commotion over Chadwick Boseman's premature death, Turman has been ignored. In short, a good movie, but with some restrictions. Above all, it, again, proves August Wilson's genius. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
10
Manny622Jan 2, 2021
An Oscar worthy film, Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman gives a groundbreaking performance in this film for the ages.
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
6
dfelixfJan 6, 2021
Viola y Chadwick brillan en sus papeles. El vestuario y maquillaje están bastante bien, pero es algo lenta, no arriesgan ni proponen nada nuevo, se siente como una película que ya has visto antes.
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
5
AJ_13Jan 11, 2021
Good message and good performances by Chadwick (clearly the lead role), Viola (in my opinion not a lead but a supporting role) and band members, specially Colman.
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
7
megomikeJan 28, 2021
Set in Chicago in the 1920s, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom covers a recording session of the hits of the “Mother of the Blues” and the interpersonal conflicts between the band and its horn player, Levee, between Levee and Ma, and between Ma andSet in Chicago in the 1920s, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom covers a recording session of the hits of the “Mother of the Blues” and the interpersonal conflicts between the band and its horn player, Levee, between Levee and Ma, and between Ma and the white producers wringing her out for every last bit of profit while she’s hot. The language is brilliantly written by Wilson and Santiago-Hudson, but unfortunately the reliance on so much dialogue with little action is occasionally a disservice to the film. Like a Blues Band version of a David Mamet play, Ma Rainey is a movie that simply plays better as a live performance, and short the wonderful performances of its cast and a timely theme, does little to keep the viewer engaged for a short 94 minutes. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
9
IntranutFeb 16, 2021
A great cinematic rendering of August Wilson’s eponymous play. Everything that was changed made it even better. From winter to summer. The addition
of Ma’s car. The cuts and closeups. This is clearly a triumph.
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
3
FilmolFeb 27, 2021
This was one of my highly anticipated films. With a cast lead by Viola Davis and the late Chadwick Boseman based on play by August Wilson, I was prepared for greatness but was disappointed. The main reasons this film didn’t succeed was dueThis was one of my highly anticipated films. With a cast lead by Viola Davis and the late Chadwick Boseman based on play by August Wilson, I was prepared for greatness but was disappointed. The main reasons this film didn’t succeed was due to the direction and screen adaption of the play. There were several films this year based on plays but Ma Rainey was the one that failed to translate to the screen.

Boseman was engaging, he along with the band members were the most interesting part of the film. With no disrespect, Boseman’s performance felt stagey as if he was trying to convey a major scene by emoting louder and faster. I thought I accidentally missed Davis’ scenes because she was hardly in the film. I believe in quality over quantity but even with that consideration her role didn’t make a lasting impact I would expect from a leading role. And Davis’ lip syncing didn’t help her performance. I realize the sense of claustrophobia in the band room is to reflect society’s oppression but overall the film felt stunted and never fully realized.
Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews