Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Critics Consensus

Framed by a pair of powerhouse performances, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom pays affectionate tribute to a blues legend -- and Black culture at large.

99%

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Total Count: 69

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Release date: Nov 25, 2020

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Movie Info

Tensions rise when trailblazing blues singer Ma Rainey and her band gather at a recording studio in Chicago in 1927.

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Critic Reviews for Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

All Critics (69) | Top Critics (33) | Fresh (68) | Rotten (1)

  • There aren't enough words to describe just how breathtaking Davis's performance is as Ma Rainey. When it comes to Boseman's, on the other hand, only one seems to suffice: Damn, damn, damn.

    December 2, 2020 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • It goes without saying [Chadwick Boseman's] performance is brilliant, and yes, electric, but it's also heroic. If there had to be a final role, what a gift that it was this, an exclamation point to a career that seems ever more momentous.

    December 1, 2020 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • Boseman makes the character's eyes glitter with humor and rage and fear; Levee knows what he deserves and how far it remains out of his reach, and maybe so did the man playing him. It's a magisterial performance.

    November 26, 2020 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

    Ty Burr

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic
  • This movie's primary strength is in Wilson's words, his facility with ideas and symbols and attitudes, and what the actors do with all of the above. The movie, as a movie, has its limits. But Wilson's material remains unbound.

    November 25, 2020 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Portraying the Mother of the Blues and dripped in fur and indignation, Viola Davis' Ma bursts through the screen and confinements of Rainey's era, standing tall and vibrant in each buttery frame of the film.

    November 25, 2020 | Full Review…
  • Almost all the other actors on screen are bound to be underrated next to Boseman.

    November 23, 2020 | Full Review…

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