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Bessie
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DIRECTORS OF "Bessie"
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CRITICS OF "Bessie"
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Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
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June 02, 2015

Presents the powerhouse vocalist as a blues belter in more ways than one -- a pugnacious scrapper with a fierce streak of racial pride, a sexual appetite that crossed gender lines and a hair-trigger temper that sometimes served her well...
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Uncle Barky
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December 03, 2015

It fleshes out Bessie Smith to a degree but certainly not in full measure. Latifah and Rainey can sure sing out, though. It's a pleasure to watch and hear them wail in a film that otherwise doesn't quite cut it.
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Washington Post
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December 03, 2015

A thoughtful and at times stirring example of how a film can add texture to a legendary figure.
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culturevulture.net
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May 23, 2015

... give Bessie a try ... to see Queen Latifah's performance and learn a bit about Bessie Smith's life and times, and turn in off if and when it starts to drag.
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Ozus' World Movie Reviews
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March 13, 2017

Queen Latifah is convincing as Bessie.
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New York Times
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December 03, 2015

Bessie shows us an assortment of moments from that life but doesn't really make us feel it, despite Queen Latifah's best efforts.
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Newsday
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December 03, 2015

Well-made biopic absent a whole lot of music and -- as a result -- much emotional resonance.
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Common Sense Media
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August 15, 2016

Gritty biopic has sex, violence, drinking, great music.
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The Playlist
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May 12, 2015

"Bessie" knows all the right words, but hasn't quite learned how to sing them just yet.
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San Francisco Chronicle
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December 03, 2015

Bessie boasts powerful performances and a chance to hear the early blues popularized by Smith and her mentor, Ma Rainey.
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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
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May 14, 2015

The story is so intent on covering the title character's life almost in its entirety that character motivations suffer.
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Variety
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December 03, 2015

Bessie isn't a perfect movie. But for HBO's purposes, it's a big-time noisemaker - one with the kind of show-stopping work that, when they start handing out trophies, isn't likely to leave its star singin' the blues.
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