Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Viola Davis as blues queen Ma Rainey

  Black Panther and Da 5 Bloods star Chadwick Boseman died 12 days after shooting wrapped on Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, a fact that colours its critical reception. No one on set even knew that this firecracker performer was ill, let alone that he was being treated for stage four cancer. Put another way, the film isn’t quite as great as some people say – a good film, a fine film, well acted, snappily directed for sure – but hobbled by its forked construction. Is it actually about Ma Rainey (Viola Davis), or her cocky trumpeter Levee, played by Boseman? The other fact is that excellent though Boseman is, so are all the … Read more