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A Jazzman’s Blues (2022) – film review

A jazzman’s blues2022.

Written and directed by Tyler Perry.
Starring Joshua Boone, Amirah Vann, Solea Pfeiffer, Ryan Eggold, Austin Scott, Milauna Jackson, Brent Antonello, Brad Benedict, Kario Marcel, Kelley Davis, Lana Young, Robert Stevens Wayne, Emily Lane, Cody Pressley, Candi VandiZandi and E. Roger Mitchel.


Follows an investigation into an unsolved murder that unveils a story of forbidden love, betrayal and a secret.

1987 with a slow zoom on a TV screen showing a white politician ranting and raving about his disdain for Affirmative Action (generally making himself an all round racist jackass), an older black woman walks up to the TV and turns it off and mutters quietly “that’s enough”, a feeling we can all hide behind.

From writer/director Tyler Perry (the first screenplay he ever wrote, here 27 years later adapted into a feature film with a healthy chunk of Netflix funding), this shot is methodically constructed (with the lens of Brett Pawlak) The filmmaker’s foray into the dramatic material is convincing A jazzman’s blues might yield something substantial worth discussing.

Two minutes later, in one of the most blunt and hilarious framing device setups in recent memory, the same woman marches into the politician’s office and slams a heavy stack of letters onto the floor, essentially telling him to bang his ass Business solution bring a mystery from 40 years ago. As the politician reads, the clock turns back to the same Georgian city about 50 years ago.

Joshua Boone is Bayou (a nickname based on his deep eyes), a 17-year-old boy who is ostracized by those around him, mercilessly abused by his father (E. Roger Mitchell), and equally teased by his slightly older brother Willie Earl (Austin Scott), adored by his lovely mother Hattie (same woman from the prologue sequence, played in the past by Amirah Vann) and sweet according to Leanne by local girl Solea Pfeiffer (most townsfolk cruelly referred to as Bucket). Bayou is a bit distant and uneducated but endearing (Joshua Boone has nothing to do with the issues here) as his brother Willie Earl is believed to be the musically gifted one who will make something of his life.

Tyler Perry knows no subtlety, so dysfunctional family drama A jazzman’s blues comes fast and loud, especially with the comically overplayed man of the house getting up and heading to Chicago and taking all the leftover money. This hasty exit only fueled the heat between the siblings, with Willie now resenting Earl Hattie, assuming she prefers bayou. Meanwhile, Bayou has sneaked out of the house, bonded with the charming Leanne at night, learned to read and write, and fallen in love.

After Leanne confesses this love, she runs away, claiming that they can’t see each other again. It turns out that she is being sexually abused by her grandfather and fears that she is no longer pure for Bayou, which he thinks is wrong as he wishes he could do something about the situation. In one of the letters he wonders if he is weak, just like his scolding father says. He doesn’t have to worry about that anymore, because Leanne’s mother now knows about her love and sends her to Boston.

The chemistry between Joshua Boone and Solea Pfeiffer isn’t to blame; From the start they exude the energy of a star-crossed, doomed lover and are wonderful to be around. That’s not to say Tyler Perry doesn’t cook up some of her drama, too, but it’s nothing compared to the other characters in A jazzman’s blueswho rarely have any meaningful context behind their often rash, absurd actions. Even the harrowing tidbits, like the aforementioned sexual abuse, seem like minor character details rather than part of the person’s identity; Trauma is a trait to fuel over-the-top melodrama.

Within minutes, anyone remotely alert and paying attention to the screen will notice that some characters are conspicuously light-skinned, as if they could pass for white. Finally, passing comes into play A jazzman’s blues, but it is being explored as a means to increase dangerous love without acrimony. Everything here is cranked up to 11 and narratively played out, leaving no room for layered characterization. There is a point where Willie Earl reappears in the film (he also goes to Chicago) with a suspicious looking European who he claims is an executive able to book him in the Capital Royale, and the most shocking thing about the movie is that it’s true.

However, once circumstances beyond his control force him to Chicago in 1947, where he begins to realize the full extent of his singing talent (another great aspect of Joshua Boone’s accomplishment), Tyler Perry finds a decent rhythm by performing several musical numbers constructed and a lavish replica of the aforementioned venue. Yet even those moments are undermined by repeated angry scenes from Willie Earl, who is now more jealous than ever that he isn’t the star of the show and has also developed a heroin addiction. Much like the father figure (and a few others, there just isn’t enough time to talk about them here), these behaviors are escalated into unintentional hilarity.

There is no denying that the tragic fate of these lovers is sad; Knowing it’s coming doesn’t lessen the impact. But the uncontrolled, nonsensical melodrama surrounding Bayou and Leanne (although they occasionally have shaky lyrics to help them get their way) is like an out-of-tune horn played by a drug addict. And then comes the final (predictable) revelation, followed by a panning back shot that, while a clever juxtaposition to the opening, culminates in an incredibly cheesy image that would have been incredible if the rest of the film had been tightly convoluted and clever written. It’s a brilliant payout in theory, but almost everything before it fails.

A jazzman’s blues is a jumble of over-the-top ideas and storylines that Tyler Perry just isn’t the filmmaker skilled enough to weave into an emotionally satisfying journey. But Joshua Boone has an angelic voice, so at least listen to the soundtrack.

Flickering Myth Rating – Movie: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★

Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the editor of Flickering Myth Reviews. Check here for new reviews, follow mine Twitter or letterboxd or email me at [email protected]


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