Los Angeles Times

Review: In 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom,' Chadwick Boseman gives his final and finest performance

Where to begin? It seems an appropriate question to ask of "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," the gale-force whirlwind of a film adapted from August Wilson's 1982 play. Sweepingly directed by George C. Wolfe and incisively adapted by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, it's a story of Black lives and Black music in the early 20th century that has lost little of its significance in the 21st. And like most stage and screen productions of Wilson's work, it's a feast of inspired talk that leaves an audience, in turn, with no shortage of things to talk about.

There is, for one, the undimmed resonance of Wilson's insights into the challenges and contradictions of African American identity. There are the joys, frustrations and inevitable compromises of making art, especially if you happen to be a musician of color in a white man's recording studio, fighting to assert every inch of your domain (or to forge one to begin

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