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As with "O Brother, Where Art Thou," the music in this film is a major reason to watch it--if you like The Blues, that is. In fact, the first half of the film is mostly filled with terrific performances of blues music (with dashes of jazz and cajun.) In 1961, in a Louisiana backwater, Billy Dupree, a white singer (played by Broadway's Kevin Anderson) lands a gig at Ruby's joint, whose clientele is black, when she suddenly needs a replacement act. Angela Bassett is Ruby, one tough cookie, who inexplicably doesn't realize her own sexy beauty. Her philandering fool of a husband walks out on her early on. Of course, Billy proves himself as a blues belter and romance blooms between the two singers, despite the interracial barrier, and despite Billy also being married--to a woman with mental problems. There are sub-plots, one involving Ruby's teen-aged daughter, and one about two of the black band members who are gay. (One wants to leave for New Orleans to find fame while the other is content where he is.) But this is mainly a love story. Despite a somewhat predictable plot and some credibility lapses (given the severe black anti-gay prejudice today, would the two musicians be so open about their attraction 40 years ago?) this is an engrossing film--well acted and directed--that will appeal to blues fans.
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