Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is actor Chadwick Boseman’s (Black Panther, Da 5 Bloods) last film. He died at 43.
Sadly, the last film he acted in is a mess.
This is not Boseman’s fault. He certainly gives it all under the command of a bad script filled with cheap monologues and pointless holler.
While the trailer hints at a gripping story and swinging musical performances, instead the viewer is confronted with a bunch of players arguing with each other in the backroom for the sake of arguing.
Occasionally, Ma Rainey (Viola Davis) enters the room and the boys stop fighting. When she leaves, the loud banter continues about shoes and how “I was playing this before you were born.”
Ma Rainey is considered the “mother of blues,” and one of the first blues singers to record. She was especially praised for her moaning style of singing.
Why then disappoint the viewer with the lack of a front row seat to a great performance?
Fingers could be pointed at screenwriter Ruben Santiago-Hudson who seems to not have done much writing prior to this drivel. His last script was for a TV movie Lackawanna Blues in 2005.
It’s also a slap to the face that director George C. Wolfe’s last effort, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2017), was an enchanting tearjerker.
In contrast, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom may make you drop a tear for all the wrong reasons.
‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ premieres on Netflix December 18.