Queen Latifah to Star as Bessie Smith in HBO Biopic

dfergie

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The telepic revolves around iconic blues singer Smith as she overcomes the challenges of her tempestuous personal life to become one of the most acclaimed performers and recording artists of the 1920s and '30s, to be known forevermore as the "Empress of the Blues." The film is based on Smith's life story and Bessie, author Chris Albertson's biography of the iconic singer.

hollywoodreporter.com
 
TNGTony

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The new HBO movie "Bessie" is a dramatized biography of Bessie Smith, famed blues singer from the 1920s and 30s. She was a molding force in the sound of blues of the era and for nearly two decades after. Long enough for her influence to be felt in what became Rock & Roll... so much so, that she was inducted into the Rock & Roll hall of fame in 1989.
The movie is well produced and acted impeccably. However this movie is definitely not for younger viewers. The movie is, at time, crude for the lack of a better term.
The music is fantastic! Queen Latifah delivers a stunning performance as Bessie. However, as much as HBO tried, it is still a musician's biopic. The movie has every single cliché plot device there is: The rocky start, the run-in/chance meeting with the mentor, the meteoric rise to fame, the self-destructive behavior, the crash, and the redemption. It would be a giant strike against the movie, but in this case, it was pretty much the way it happened.
The movie also put Bessie Smith's bisexuality front and center. And of course, some liberties were taken with reality, especially with her marriage to Jack Gee, but they are forgivable artistic divergences from historical events.
It is well worth the view.
Be aware the movie is TV MA (would be R in the theater) for sexual situations, nudity, language, and some explosive realistically portrayed violence.
 

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