Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

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Movie Info & Cast


Chicago, 1927. A recording session. Tensions rise between Ma Rainey, her ambitious horn player and the white management determined to control the uncontrollable "Mother of the Blues". Based on Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson's play.


  • Viola Davis
  • Chadwick Boseman
  • Glynn Turman
  • Colman Domingo
  • Michael Potts
  • Taylour Paige
  • Dusan Brown
  • Jonny Coyne
  • Jeremy Shamos
  • Joshua Harto

Atom User Reviews

Verified Review

this movie is not like no other. it reminds of how hard and still is for blacks to work with white. it was definitely deep, crazy and entertaining at the same time.

Krystal R


Nov 20, 2020

An abundance of monologues gives a clear indication as to the stage origins of this Jazz Age-story, but they also add to the fire-and-brimstone feeling accentuated by director George C. Wolfe’s darkly enticing adaptation.

Fionnuala Halligan
Screen Daily
Nov 20, 2020

Like the film of Fences, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is too inextricably welded to its theatrical conception to become fully cinematic, even with Schliessler's lustrous visuals and the deluxe trappings of Mark Ricker's period production design, Ann Roth's gorgeous costumes and Branford Marsalis' jazzy underscoring. But watching actors of this caliber lose themselves in characters of such aching humanity is ample reward, with Boseman's towering work standing as a testament to a blazing talent lost too soon.

Metacritic review by David Rooney
David Rooney
The Hollywood Reporter
Nov 20, 2020

Boseman is just so alive in this movie. This is not an “understated” performance. It’s like watching an athlete give it all on the field and we are left there wondering how this man isn’t just completely exhausted. Yeah, turns out Boseman did have one last gift for us. And, my gosh, he didn’t disappoint. He’s pure dynamite. It’s devastating.

Mike Ryan