Chadwick Boseman‘s final movie, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, has already been picking up a lot of praise since it arrived on Netflix yesterday. Focusing on a recording session in 1920s Chicago, where Viola Davis’ Ma Rainey argues with her manager, Boseman plays trumpeter Levee as he acts on his own ambitions. And with a near perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s perhaps no surprise that it’s currently the most popular film or television program on Netflix today.
Based on a play by August Wilson, the project was initially developed by Denzel Washington through a deal with HBO, before moving over to streaming. George C. Wolfe directs, while other parts are taken by the likes of Glynn Turman and Colman Domingo. Boseman tragically died of colon cancer during post-production for the picture, which has also received a limited theatrical engagement.
Fans of Ma Rainey are keen for the aforementioned actor’s performance to be recognized at next year’s Academy Awards, and the work seen here is certainly among his best. Boseman also garnered praise for another Netflix original, Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods, back in the spring, and between the two films, he’s almost certain to get a nod at the Oscars.
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Looking further ahead, though, and there still appears to be questions over how Disney will deal with the superhero in Black Panther 2, with Letitia Wright reportedly set to assume the mantle before her recent controversies complicated matters. Still, we know that the Marvel sequel will address Boseman’s death, and that the studio do not want to replace him in the part.
With the actor rarely off screen for long in the last decade, he would have surely continued to excel after Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. As it is, though, the film now acts as a fitting final bow for Chadwick Boseman‘s talents, and one that looks to be a must-see for the holiday season.