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(2020) (Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman) (R)
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- QUICK TAKE:
- Drama: Tensions rise between a legendary, 1920s era blues singer and one of her ambitious backup band members as they record several of her songs.
It's 1927 and Ma Rainey (VIOLA DAVIS) is one of the hottest blues singers in the South, at least among people of her race. She's now arrived in Chicago -- along with her young adult nephew, Sylvester (DUSAN BROWN), and her lover who's several decades younger than her, Dussie Mae (TAYLOUR PAIGE) -- to record some songs in the studio for her white manager, Herb Irvin (JEREMY SHAMOS), and the owner of that place, Mel Sturdyvant (JONNY COYNE).
There's also the backup band consisting of group leader Cutler (COLMAN DOMINGO) on trombone; Toledo (GLYNN TURMAN) on piano; Slow Drag (MICHAEL POTTS) on the bass; and Levee Green (CHADWICK BOSEMAN) on trumpet. The latter is talented but also ambitious and not only has written some of his own songs for Sturdyvant, but has also created a new arrangement for Ma's big hit, "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom."
As a veteran performer who's paid her dues and doesn't suffer fools or anyone else for that matter, she doesn't take kindly to Levee altering her work. Accordingly, she wants to record it her way and the rest of the songs in the order she demands, something that everyone else is more than willing to agree to, including, begrudgingly, Levee. As they try to record the songs and detail their experiences of being black in a white world, tensions rise.
- WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
- They might if they're into blues music or are fans of anyone in the cast.
- WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
- For language, some sexual content and brief violence.
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