Mo' Better Blues

Critics Consensus

Mo' Better Blues is rich with vibrant hues and Denzel Washington's impassioned performance, although its straightforward telling lacks the political punch fans expect from a Spike Lee joint.

71%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 34

75%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 9,410

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Movie Info

Financially irresponsible Giant (Spike Lee) manages a jazz group, but his sax player, Shadow (Wesley Snipes), wants to replace him with a better businessman. Bleak (Denzel Washington), the band's trumpeter, then tries to defend his close pal Giant, leading to a power struggle between the two musicians. Meanwhile, as Bleak tries to straighten things out with his band mates and manager, he also must choose to be with either sweet teacher Indigo (Joie Lee) or sultry singer Clarke (Cynda Williams).

Cast & Crew

Wesley Snipes
Shadow Henderson (Sax)
Joie Lee
Indigo Downes
Cynda Williams
Clarke Bentancourt
Giancarlo Esposito
Left Hand Lacey (Piano)
Robin Harris
Butterbean Jones
Bill Nunn
Bottom Hammer (Bass)
Dick Anthony Williams
Big Stop Williams
John Turturro
Moe Flatbush
Spike Lee
Director
Jon Kilik
Line Producer
Spike Lee
Producer
Monty Ross
Co-Producer
Ernest R. Dickerson
Cinematographer
Wynn Thomas
Production Design
Ted Glass
Set Decoration
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News & Interviews for Mo' Better Blues

Critic Reviews for Mo' Better Blues

All Critics (34) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (24) | Rotten (10)

  • Quote not available.

    September 7, 2011 | Rating: B- | Full Review…
  • Personal rather than social issues come to the fore in Mo' Better Blues, a Spike Lee personality piece dressed in jazz trappings that puffs itself up like Bird but doesn't really fly.

    September 22, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • Though it's full of striking visual ideas and actorly turns, it never fully convinces.

    September 22, 2008 | Full Review…
  • Despite stylish camerawork and sturdy acting, this lengthy indulgence succeeds neither as jazz movie nor as cautionary tale.

    February 9, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Mo' Better Blues is not a great film, but it's an interesting one, which is almost as rare.

    October 23, 2004 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • From characters to camera angles, this story of a self-absorbed jazz trumpeter is one long cliche, the kind that might make his most loyal admirers wince and wonder, 'Spike, what happened?'

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 2.5/5

Audience Reviews for Mo' Better Blues

  • Jan 27, 2012
    Benefits from the fact that this is Spike Lee's debut and doesn't feature the preachiness that brings down his later efforts.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 27, 2008
    Middling effort from Spike Lee. It had some good scenes and it was well acted, shot etc. I just didn't really like Denzel's character and I think I kind of was supposed to. It also went on longer than the material required.
    Sean L Super Reviewer
  • May 29, 2008
    i love this movie denzel as player a must see
    khalvic b Super Reviewer
  • Dec 27, 2007
    Plenty of style and energy, but not enough soul.
    Marcus W Super Reviewer

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