THE UNITED STATES VS BILLIE HOLIDAY – Review by Liz Braun

There was a lot of pain and conflict in Billie Holiday’s short life, all of it right there in the music. That music is the saving grace of The United States vs. Billie Holiday, a new biopic about the legendary jazz singer that stars Andra Day and is directed by Lee Daniels, with a screenplay by Suzan-Lori Parks. It’s an uneven and often melodramatic undertaking, suffering from what looks like an inability to leave anything out. The United States vs. Billie Holiday won’t tell you anything new about Billie Holiday but it functions as lovely window dressing for Andra Day’s extraordinary singing talent.

It’s an uneven and often melodramatic undertaking, suffering from what looks like an inability to leave anything out

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, October 17 – October 21: Moonlight

The eight-year gap between Barry Jenkin’s first film Medicine for Melancholy and his sophomore follow-up Moonlight has been a source of some considerable anxiety for all the cinephiles eagerly awaiting Jenkins’s new work. Opening Oct. 21, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is Moonlight, a political work in that it posits the experience of being black in the US, not with the triumphant exceptionalism of a film like The Birth of a Nation, but with attention and care to a common and shared humanity. Read More…

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