Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020)

Retains the stage-y feel of its source material, but that’s not a bad thing (the rapid dialogue jazzily bounces the film along at a great pace and the monologues simmer and explode from out of the cramped and sweaty setting) and it has powerful filmic touches too (see the poignant opening misdirection). Davis and Boseman give particularly powerful turns in this rich work (themes of past and future, art and ambition, race and power all bubble between the gut-punching compare/contrast bookends).

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