A Jazzman’s Blues

Tyler Perry’s latest fil in currently on Netflix and it is a powerful story, a story of a love that was forbidden at the time. The film showed the way of life for a black person during the 1940s.

The movie started off with an elderly lady coming to see a lawyer (Kario Marcel) demanding that he investigate this case of murder from 1947.

The film is told then in flashbacks as the lawyer reads through the letters where we see Bayou (Joshua Boone) and his mother Hattie Mae (Amirah Vann) struggling to get by with an abusive father and Willie Earl (Austin Scott), Bayou’s older brother, who took the father’s side in most arguments. The father ran off after a troublesome confrontation, leaving his family alone.

Bayou fell in love with a young girl Leanne (Solea Pfeiffer), but her mother and grandfather did not approve and Leanne’s mother took the girl and left town.

Hattie Mae was able to start up a juke joint, and Bayou worked there. Bayou could sing like an angel and he would sing with his mother. After many years, Leanne returned to town, married to the sheriff’s brother, and she was passing herself off as white. However, Leanne and Bayou’s love had not been shunted.

Watching the way the black people were treated at this time in the South was very difficult. It is always amazing to me that human beings can be filled with so much hatred just because the skin color of another person is darker. People were treated with so much disrespect by many white people that it is a shameful history.

The film is a tragedy in telling. Because of that, the movie does not leave us with a happy scene. In fact, I really wanted to know what happened to some of the other characters that we met in the film after the wrap up of the third act. I understand why it is designed as it is, and it speaks to the successful engagement of the audience that made me want to know more.

There were strong performances from Joshua Boone and Amirah Venn. These two performances carried most of the emotional baggage of the movie. Solea Pfeiffer gave us a character who was anything but sympathetic. Leanne was the love of Bayou’s life, but she seemed to be more selfish of a character.

There was some great music in the film, as we get Bayou and Hattie Mae singing, Willie Earl on the trumpet and several awesome scenes with dancing and amazing beats. The music balanced out the horrible circumstances around these characters.

Written and directed by Tyler Perry, the story said that Perry had written this years ago but he sat on it until he could be sure to make it the way he wanted. He did a great job here and he provided yet another example of how painful life could be just because your skin tone is different.

3.9 stars

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