Director: George C. Wolfe
Starring: Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman, Glynn Turman
Running Time: 94 minutes
Release Date: Streaming On Netflix Friday, December 18
| Film Synopsis |
Tensions and temperatures rise over the course of an afternoon recording session in 1920s Chicago as a band of musicians await trailblazing performer, the legendary “Mother of the Blues,” Ma Rainey (Academy Award® winner Viola Davis). Late to the session, the fearless, fiery Ma engages in a battle of wills with her white manager and producer over control of her music. As the band waits in the studio’s claustrophobic rehearsal room, ambitious cornet player Levee (Chadwick Boseman) — who has an eye for Ma’s girlfriend and is determined to stake his own claim on the music industry — spurs his fellow musicians into an eruption of stories revealing truths that will forever change the course of their lives.
| Review |
Summary (out of 5)
Set in the hot summer of 1927 Chicago, real-life 'Mother of the Blues' legend Ma Rainey (Viola Davis) brings together her blues band to cut a new album. A new trumpet player, Levee (Chadwick Boseman) has different ideas in presenting the music. Her fellow band members resist but unlike her, Ma has a high degree of pull with her studio benefactors who happen to be white men. While the film focuses on music it also has major themes of race and power.
Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman give both a Oscar worthy performance. Boseman gives a truly emotional one that will bring you to tears knowing that this is his final performance. He will be truly missed. Davis' performance commands the audience’s attention all through out the film and it's impossible not to look away from her.
You can tell that this story originated on the stage...there are some wordy monologues that takes place mainly in two rooms — the recording room and the band's rehearsal room. Some may find it difficult to watch but with how strong the story and performances were, I couldn’t turn away. It will premiere globally December 18th on Netflix.