‘A Jazzman’s Blues’ Review: Tyler Perry Revisits a Jim Crow-Era Romance

Author: Yuvi September 23, 2022

'A Jazzman's Blues' Review: Tyler Perry Revisits a Jim Crow-Era Romance

“A Jazzman’s Blues,” Tyler Perry’s melodrama about ill-fated teenagers who fall in love in rural Georgia, marks the writer-director-studio head’s return to his first screenplay, which he wrote in 1995. In the meantime, he broke through with a slew of Madea comedies, and whetted the skills required to deliver the faceted beauty of Bayou — his richest male character to date — with dramas like 2010’s “For Colored Girls.”

It helps, too, that he has found a perfect portrayer in Joshua Boone (“Premature”). Bayou, who is embodied with a luminous sincerity by Boone, offers a touching take on the kind of compassionate man a so-called mama’s boy might become.

The movie begins in 1987. An elderly version of Hattie Mae Boyd (Daphne Maxwell Reid) paces around her home, listening to a white political candidate (Brent Antonello) being interviewed on television. He blathers about his family’s civic legacy. When he begins nattering on about not being racist, she shuts off the TV. Then, in short order, she arrives at the candidate’s office with a stack of love letters — proof, she says, of her son’s killing in 1947. As the man begins reading the letters, the movie shifts to the past, where it stays for much of the star-crossed, racism-infused romance.

Amirah Vann (in a bulwark turn) portrays the younger version of Hattie Mae, the loving mama of Bayou and his brother, Willie Earl (Austin Scott). Solea Pfeiffer, in a promising onscreen debut, is Leanne, the intended recipient of Bayou’s missives.

From the get-go, Bayou and Leanne recognize in each other something wounded, yet also sheltering. But their clandestine affection is upended when Leanne’s mother, Ethel (Lana Young), bent on passing for white, wrenches her daughter away. The romance is briefly rekindled when a war injury sends Bayou home to his mother’s juke joint outside Hopewell, Ga., and Leanne arrives, newly wed to a scion of the town’s reigning family.

With this turn, the movie might have collapsed under the weight of its twists or drowned in the sentimentality of Aaron Zigman’s score. A volatile scene between Leanne and her childhood- friend-turned housekeeper, Citsy (played with fierce sensitivity by Milauna Jemai Jackson), helps shore it up.

When Bayou leaves, this time to avoid a lynching, he heads with Willie Earl and his brother’s music manager, Ira (Ryan Eggold), to Chicago. There, Ira lands a nightclub gig for Bayou, a honey-voiced singer, and his trumpet-playing, heroin-shooting brother. (It is here that the composer Terence Blanchard, who wrote songs for the film, and the choreographer Debbie Allen create some of its most exuberant musical numbers.)

“A Jazzman’s Blues” is packed with outsize emotions, but also grand themes. The relationship of antisemitism to white supremacy gets a significant nod. And while addiction, domestic abuse, and rape have in the past been Perry staples — and appear here as well — they’re now in the service of a more expansive, chastising saga.

A Jazzman’s Blues
Rated R for scenes of substance abuse, violence, rape, brief lovemaking and cruel language. Running time: 2 hours 7 minutes. Watch on Netflix.

23 September, 2022, 2:29 am

News Cinema on twitter News Cinema on facebook

Friday, 23rd September 2022

More Stories
Tua Tagovailoa Removed From Field After Second Head Hit in Two Games
Arizona sues Biden administration over student debt plan, becoming a seventh state to do so
Luxury sprees of Aussie fraudster employees after stealing $350million from employers
Australia SCRAPS mandatory Covid isolation rules in National Cabinet meeting
Father and Teenage Son Are Charged in Killing of Rapper PnB Rock
Hurricane Ian Leaves Behind a Staggering Scale of Wreckage in Florida
NASA May Let Billionaire Astronaut and SpaceX Lift Hubble Telescope
The Queen died at 3:10pm. So, why did it take more than three hours to tell Prince Harry?
Durga Puja 2022: This ‘St. Peter’s Basilica in Kolkata is a masterpiece of pandal
Deni Ute Muster: Brad Paisley, Jessica Mauboy and The Angels headlining Australia’s wildest festival
Judge Overrules Special Master’s Demands to Trump in Document Review
FEMA Chief ‘Adds a Human Touch’ to Disaster Response
Did Your Home Security Camera Document Hurricane Ian?
Fort Myers residents return to their homes under water by Hurricane Ian
PICTURED: Hero EMT, 61, stabbed to death while giving aid to patient
Judge Aileen Cannon rules that Trump does NOT have to vouch for the accuracy of DOJ’s inventory
Victims of Highland Park Shooting Sue Gun Maker and Retailers
Downpours From Ian Prompt Florida Treatment Plants to Release Waste
Inside the mind of Melissa Caddick before she vanished without a trace
Sandy Hook Parents Tie Years of Threats and Vitriol to Alex Jones
Leonard Cole, Who Detailed Secret Army Germ Tests, Dies at 89
Russian Oligarch and Associates Indicted on US Sanctions Charges
Biden administration scales back student debt relief for MILLIONS
Putin signs decree recognizing two Ukrainian regions as independent states after sham referendums
David Gottesman, 96, Wall St. Power and Warren Buffett Partner, Dies
Amazing images show £5m operation to move 2,000 animals away from deadly drought in Zimbabwe
Army Doctor and Spouse Plotted to Give Russia Medical Records, US Says
Spectacular 4-bed apartment in NYC’s iconic Dakota building where John Lennon died listed for $11m
Memphis heiress Eliza Fletcher died of a gunshot wound to the back of her head, autopsy confirms
‘Dead for a Dollar’ Review: How the Western’s Done
PGA Tour Accuses LIV Golf of Interfering With Its Contracts
The Story of ‘Gangsta’s Paradise,’ Coolio’s Biggest Hit
DeSantis, Once a ‘No’ on Storm Aid, Petitions a President He’s Bashed
Ginni Thomas Denies Discussing Election Subversion Efforts With Her Husband
FDA Approves ALS Treatment Despite Questions About Effectiveness
Hurricane Ian Leaves Flooding and Damage Far From the Florida Coast
FDA Approves ALS Treatment Despite Questions About Effectiveness
Dua Lipa, 27, and Trevor Noah, 38, spark romance rumors as they’re seen KISSING after dinner in NYC
Emergency Medical Worker Fatally Stabbed During Call in Queens
House Candidate’s Claims About His Military Record Unravel Further
Floodwaters Sweep Into St. Augustine From a Powerful Storm Surge
Shakira Is Accused of Tax Evasion in Spain. Here’s What We Know.