This review of the Netflix film A Jazzman’s Blues contains no spoilers.
The blues of a jazzman is the passion project of Tyler Perry. It premiered at TIFF and is currently streaming on Netflix. Perry takes us back to 1987 when a stack of letters are turned over to a state attorney general as possible evidence in the long-unsolved murder case of Bayou (Joshua Boone). It’s another star-crossed lovers story as Bayou meets Leanne (Solea Pfieffer), they fall in love, but Leanne’s loved ones forbid the relationship and the couple are torn apart. Years later, after living their separate lives, they reunite and Bayou is a successful musician. They still have feelings for each other and it’s hard for Bayou to see Leanne with anyone else. They become different people, and Perry explores their journey in this film. It has a beautiful production design, wonderful music, and a heartbreaking story that will resonate with many.
Perry wanted to highlight the difficulties faced by the black community in reclaiming their identity while growing up in the South. It was a terrible time to be in and Perry doesn’t shy away from those difficult conversations. As she grew older, Leanne would come across as white and neglect her roots as a black woman in America. Perry showed how different their lives had become and how each of them was treated differently. The racism Bayou experienced, even though he was a talented musician, is unwarranted and Leanne knew it. That being his decision leads to discussions about the perception of those who made him. The ending of this film is heartbreaking as she remembers Bayou and sees many good qualities in her son. There’s no justification for the outcome of Bayou’s life and it was hard to watch in this movie.
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