2. The New Yorker: Acting Black and White Onscreen
This review by Hilton Als of Rebecca Hall’s Passing—starring Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga based on Nella Larsen’s novel of the same name—and Lee Daniels’ The United States vs. Billie Holiday (Suzan-Lori Parks’ adaptation from a Johann Hari book) is both insightful and entertaining. The first half is dedicated to Passing and how “how passing itself becomes a kind of race, with its own codes of behavior, carefully drawn lines, and exclusions.”
The second part of the review (and largely why I included this) is an incisive, yet known, read of Lee Daniels and The United States vs. Billie Holiday. This part is short as “I don’t want you to spend too much time on Lee Daniels’s new movie about Holiday … because you won’t find much of Billie Holiday in it—and certainly not the superior intelligence of a true artist. What you’ll find instead is an illustration of the nasty impulses that spell out Daniels’s interest in degradation… the director of such deep-fried-chicken-and-pain movies as ‘Precious’ (2009), Daniels has emerged as a skewed moralist, one who, although he is Black, seems to feel that most Black people are both power-mad and powerless, and therefore fodder to be pimped out, debased, and manipulated.”
LMAO! That is a read if I have ever read one, and the reason I try to avoid Daniels’ movies.