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

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

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“A Jazzman’s Blues,” a Tyler Perry melodrama about hapless teenagers falling in love in rural Georgia, marks the writer-director’s return to the first screenplay written in 1995. I’m here. Plenty of Madea in his comedy and 2010s “for colored girls

It also helps that I found the perfect actor in Joshua Boone (“Too Soon”). Bayou, embodied with glorious honesty by Boone, offers an inspiring look at the kind of caring man who might become a so-called mama’s boy.

The movie opens in 1987. Hattie May hears an older version of her Boyd (Daphne Maxwell Reed) walking around her house and a white political candidate (Brent Her Antonello) being interviewed on television. He speaks out loud about his family’s civic heritage. She turns off the TV when he starts talking about not being racist. Soon after, she arrives at the candidate’s office with a stack of love letters — proof, she says, that her son was murdered in 1947. Lots of infused romance.

Amira Vann (Tarn of the Breakwater) portrays a younger version of Hattie May, the loving mom of Bayou and his brother Willie Earle (Austin Scott). Solaire Pfeiffer, in her promising on-screen debut, is Leanne, the intended recipient of Bayeux’s letter.

From the start, Bayou and Leanne find themselves with something wounded in each other, but also in hiding. But their secret affection is upended when Leanne’s mother, Ethel (Lana Young), pulls her daughter away for her white. The romance is briefly reignited when war injuries send Bayou to her mother’s juke joint outside Hopewell, Georgia, and Leanne arrives, newly married to a scion of the town’s reigning family. .

At this turn, the film may have crumbled under the weight of the twist, or drowned in the sentimentality of Aaron Zigman’s score. (played with intense delicacy) helps underpin that.

As Bayou leaves, he heads to Chicago with Willie Earl and his brother’s music manager, Ira (Ryan Eggold), this time to avoid a lynching. So Ira lands a nightclub gig for Bayou, a sweet-voiced singer, and his brother, who plays the trumpet and shoots heroin. (It’s here that composer Terrence Blanchard, who wrote the songs for the film, and choreographer Debbie Allen created some of the most frenetic musical numbers.)

“A Jazzman’s Blues” is packed with epic themes as well as tremendous emotion. The relationship between anti-Semitism and white supremacy gets an important nod. Useful for punitive narratives.

jazzman blues
Scenes of substance abuse, violence, rape, brief sex acts, and cruel language are rated R. Running time: 2 hours 7 minutes. watch on netflix.

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