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'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom' Netflix film

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I don't know if this has been noted here yet but I just learned that Netflix released a Ma Rainey film adaptation of August Wilson's play 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom' today. Netflix's description: "Tensions and temperatures rise at a Chicago music studio in 1927 when fiery, fearless blues singer Ma Rainey joins her band for a recording session."

Here's the Netflix page with a trailer and info:

And here's a piece Rolling Stone did on Ma to coincide with the film:

And here's a Netflix mini-doc/explainer on Ma Rainey:

Thank you, Lew. There were a couple of recent articles in the NY Times about August Wilson's enduring legacy:

The movie is very well acted but is not historically-minded or concerned and Ma is painted a cranky jerk. I personally found it overheated and over dramatic most of the time.
Good production values.

I saw it last night and liked it well enough. Well acted, very theatrical and essentially a look at black life in 1920s Chicago.

Apart from Ma Rainey all the characters are fictional and she isn't really at the centre of the action. It's certainly not biographical in any sense and whilst she sings a couple of songs it isn't in any way a musical. The band plays whilst rehearsing but mainly bickering.

Good performances and well worth seeing. On netflix in the UK.

Mike Billo:
Sometimes, the acting and writing styles of the stage and the acting and writing styles of film, translate well from one to the other

       That's not the case here. I was conscious every minute of watching a movie, of a play, being filmed. Nothing at all organic or naturalistic. A lot of over-acting.

      In the first 20 minutes, the main character (a disgruntled horn player) speaks the line "I want to play real music. Not this Jug Band shit"
  I was pissed at the movie from that point on

Not recommended 


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