Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom review: “Chadwick Boseman is astonishing in his final performance”

Your heart breaks a little when Chadwick Boseman’s recklessly ambitious jazz trumpeter Levee insists fiercely to his bandmates in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom: “I got my time coming to me…” Taken from us far too soon, the late actor brings an astonishing, electrifying energy to his final performance.

He’s the dynamo firing up this punchy screen adaptation of August Wilson’s classic play about the exploitation of 1920s singing legend Ma Rainey, the ‘Mother of the Blues’, and her long-suffering band. It’s a worthy capper to Boseman’s career, another role that brings Black history in from the margins, like Marshall (2017) or the Jackie Robinson biopic 42 (2013).

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