This past summer the world was hit with some truly devastating news, as it was reported that actor/producer Chadwick Boseman had passed away following a four-year battle with cancer. Fans were left shocked and stunned, as Boseman chose to keep his diagnosis a closely-guarded secret, and all of the movies he’s made have taken on a kind of preciousness with the knowledge that more won’t be made. There has particularly been a great deal of anticipation for what is now the star’s final film, George C. Wolfe’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and while it won’t be available streaming until next month, early reactions to the Netflix release are not only overwhelmingly positive, but many are hailing it as one of Boseman’s greatest works.
Based on the August Wilson play of the same name, the film is a bottle story set in 1920s Chicago and finds all its action contained to a recording studio where a band waits for the arrival of legendary singer Ma Rainey (Viola Davis). Chadwick Boseman plays an ambitious trumpet player named Levee who gets caught in the middle of escalating tension that comes out of big revelations and interpersonal dramas. Variety reporter Angelique Jackson is one of the many who is praising the work of the the Black Panther star in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, calling his turn “magical” and “legendary.: