6.6/10
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17 user 11 critic

Bessie (2015)

TV-MA | | Biography, Drama, Music | TV Movie 16 May 2015
Trailer
1:31 | Trailer
The story of legendary blues performer Bessie Smith, who rose to fame during the 1920s and '30s.

Director:

Dee Rees

Writers:

Dee Rees (screenplay), Christopher Cleveland (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 23 wins & 45 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Khandi Alexander ... Viola
Tika Sumpter ... Lucille
Queen Latifah ... Bessie Smith
Mike Epps ... Richard
Michael Kenneth Williams ... Jack Gee
Oliver Platt ... Carl Van Vechten
Bryan Greenberg ... John Hammond
Charles S. Dutton ... William 'Pa' Rainey
Mo'Nique ... Ma Rainey
Tory Kittles ... Clarence
Joe Knezevich ... Frank Walker
Terence Rosemore ... Detroit Theater Manager
Jeremie Harris ... Langston Hughes
Alkoya Brunson ... Swarm Boy #2
L. Warren Young ... Sharkish Man
Edit

Storyline

The story of legendary blues performer Bessie Smith, who rose to fame during the 1920s and '30s.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Queen brings Bessie back to life.

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Certificate:

TV-MA | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 May 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bessie See more »

Filming Locations:

Olde Town Conyers, Georgia, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Queen Latifah's topless scene in front of the mirror shows her real breasts. A body double was not used. See more »

Quotes

Bessie Smith: I ain't playing second to nobody!
See more »


Soundtracks

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
Written by Ma Rainey
Performed by Mo'Nique and Queen Latifah
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Basket Full of Emmys
18 May 2015 | by rossini-1868See all my reviews

The camera has a love affair with Queen Latifah from beginning to end in this tour de force, a performance that may have been worthy of an Oscar, let alone the Emmy she is destined to receive. The movie was co-executive produced by the late Richard Zanuck, based on a story by the late Oscar winning screenwriter Horton Foote, and their posthumous talent is impressively displayed at every level.

The screenplay was smart enough not to try and convert the audience to liking the blues, which is always an acquired taste, instead focusing on the intense drama that was this woman's personal life, from childhood traumas (i.e. being chased by her older sister with a knife), to lesbian love affairs as a grown woman. Thanks mainly to Queen Latifah's amazing performance, a basketful of Emmys should be in the future for this bold and seriously worthy TV drama.


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