NETFLIX MOVIE REVIEW: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Mark Johnson
2 min readMar 6, 2021

Tensions and temperatures rise over the course of an afternoon recording session in 1920s Chicago as a band of musicians awaits 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 trumpeter 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. Adapted from two-time Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson’s play, MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM celebrates the blues’ transformative power and the artists who refuse to let society’s prejudices dictate their worth. Directed by George C. Wolfe and adapted for the screen by Ruben … Written by Netflix (Courtesy of Internet Movie Database)

MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM (2020), directed by George C. Wolfe, written by Ruben Santiago Hudson, adapted from August Wilson’s play, produced by Denzel Washington. Seeing the trailer to this film and watching HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER starring Viola Davis and her FENCES performance sparked my interest.

Upon watching, I found an engaging story, but even better, the dialogue was incredible. The film was further graced with some amazing performances, one being Chadwick Boseman’s last. The story may not touch everyone, but knowing there was a character like Ma Rainey that existed back in the day is important.

In the End: MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM is a well-told, influential story with some great acting performances. So for this film, I give it 4 of 5 stars.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ord7gP151vk

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Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson is a University of Chico graduate, a lover of the creative arts, avid photographer, with an undying entrepreneurial spirit.