#123movies #fmovies #putlocker #gomovies #solarmovie #soap2day Watch Full Movie Online Free – Follows Holiday during her career as she is targeted by the Federal Department of Narcotics with an undercover sting operation led by black Federal Agent Jimmy Fletcher, with whom she had a tumultuous affair.
Plot: Billie Holiday spent much of her career being adored by fans. In the 1940’s, the government targeted Holiday in a growing effort to racialize the war on drugs, ultimately aiming to stop her from singing her controversial ballad, “Strange Fruit.”
Smart Tags: #jazz_singer #racism #based_on_true_story #undercover #substance_abuse #war_on_drugs #segregation #heroin #censorship #civil_rights #addiction #bereavement #dysfunctional_relationship #dog_lover #tour_bus #concert #brothel #child_abuse #lynching #entrapment #legal_battle
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Jazz musician Billie Holiday is a legend; one of the greatest musicians of all time. Most music fans can name their favorite Holiday tune, but none caused more controversy than her song about black lynching, “Strange Fruit.” Screenwriter Suzan-Lori Parks builds her story (based on the novel by Johann Hari) around the song, one that many people claimed had un-American lyrics and provoked people “in the wrong way.”
“The United States vs. Billie Holiday” is a film about racial injustice and censorship surrounding a stirring work of art that gave power to the woman who sang it, as well as the people who heard it. It was a song that ultimately led to events that ruined Holiday’s life.
If you are unfamiliar with “Strange Fruit,” it would be beneficial to give it a listen before watching this film. Most of the story is based on the song, which provides a means for director Lee Daniels to start with a focused, small story and build on his larger narrative. You can’t escape the fact that this is yet another tragic artist movie where a once-in-a-lifetime talent destroys her life with drugs, booze, and poor choices. But what makes this more interesting is that Holiday (Andra Day) actually became an enemy of the United States government because of that one haunting song.
Led by Harry Anslinger (Garrett Hedlund), the Federal Bureau of Narcotics painted a big target on the jazz musician’s back, using her illegal drug addiction as an excuse to barge through the door to complete their real mission: censorship of an African-American artist.
This is an interesting and important story of black America that needs to be unwrapped from our country’s history. It’s fantastic that more stories like this are being told, especially true events that have been long buried in popular culture. Daniels is the perfect choice to handle this biopic, and he adds some nice directorial choices and touches that stay true to his creative vision for the material.
Daniels doesn’t shy away from the less idealized parts of Holiday’s life, including the heroin use and alcohol abuse that tragically ended her life at 44, and her rocky relationship with Federal Agent Jimmy Fletcher (Trevante Rhodes), the man who targeted her with an undercover sting operation. The scenes of drug use and the aftermath of a quick high become so repetitive in the film’s last half, which is a shame because all this rambling amplifies the movie’s imperfections. It’s too long, too.
Jazz fans will love that the film features plenty of Holiday’s classic music, and the period set designs and costumes are astonishing on every level. Day fully steps into the shoes of a tortured artist, and she mimics Holiday’s mannerisms and stage presence very well.
“The United States vs. Billie Holiday” is not an inspirational biopic, but it’s an intimate portrait of brilliant and gifted jazz singer who was tragically brought down by fame, addiction, the ghosts of her past, and the U.S. government.
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Even though I love listening to jazz, I’ve never been to a concert or a club specific to this type of music. Following this train of thought, I didn’t know anything about Billie Holiday’s real-life story and her tremendous impact not only in the respective musical genre but also in the fight against the government concerning the evil, shameful act of lynching – which shockingly still occurs today in some countries. Strange Fruit, a poem written by Abel Meeropol, became incredibly controversial due to its brutal lyrics describing the said act, comparing the victim to the fruit of trees. The adapted song has been referenced as the beginning of the civil rights movement, and Andra Day’s performance is the standout of a quite disappointing film.
I just watched The Mauritanian – a movie “based on true events” – earlier this week, and I wrote in its review that I’m almost always captivated by the main story in this type of film, even if the rest doesn’t quite hold up. The United States vs. Billie Holiday is a biographical movie inspired by the singer’s life, but besides Day’s powerful display and memorable music, I struggle to find any other positively relevant aspects. Daniel T. Dorrance’s fabulous production design is hard to ignore, as is Kris Bowers’ attention-grabbing score. However, these two rarely compensate for the jumbled editing (Jay Rabinowitz), untidy screenplay (Suzan-Lori Parks), and even Lee Daniels’ erratic direction.
From the awkward, swift transitions to black-and-white and back to color to the lack of connection between cuts and even storylines, it’s incredibly hard to feel captivated by such a visually confusing film. Suzan-Lori Parks’ script enters a monotonous, repetitive cycle of depicting Billie Holiday heavily smoking and taking drugs, followed by singing a full song and having sex with a random man, all while trying countless times to stop her bad habits. On one hand, Billie Holiday is a strong, proud Black woman who’s trying to fight for what’s right through her beautiful singing voice and astonishing tenacity. On the other hand, the viewers have to endure numerous sequences of despicable behavior from someone who doesn’t look like a good influence at all.
I understand that a protagonist doesn’t have to be perfect, much on the contrary. Nevertheless, the narrative structure is so incoherent and raises so many moral questions regarding the true essence of the main character that I couldn’t help but feel disengaged from her story. The only interesting moments are the musical performances which might be the only storytelling detail that works as a connecting point to what comes next or as a reference to what happened just before. Every other scene is seemingly detached from the next one, and Lee Daniels struggles to find the right path. The only storytelling component well-developed from beginning to end is the successful build-up to the performance of Strange Fruit.
In the end, Andra Day is the savior of what could have been a massive disaster. Her interpretation is one of the most impressive debut performances I’ve seen in the last few years. Ignoring her indisputably fantastic singing voice, Day shows a remarkable emotional range and a physical commitment to the role that not many actresses are capable of. She outshines every single element in the movie, including the remaining cast. Day is the only reason why I kept getting “dragged” to the screen. Sadly, one person isn’t enough to overcome dozens of significant issues.
The United States vs. Billie Holiday could have been an inspirational, impactful story about Billie Holiday’s influence not only in jazz music but mainly in the fight for equal civil rights. Instead, Lee Daniels’ inconsistent direction and Suzan-Lori Parks’ extremely messy screenplay are just two of many issues that transform this film into an absolute letdown. From the awful editing that detaches almost every storyline from each other to the questionable storytelling decisions regarding the repetitive, tiresome narrative structure, it becomes surprisingly difficult to fully support the protagonist’s behavior. Neat production design and engaging score, but it’s Andra Day’s phenomenal debut performance that saves a potential trainwreck. Her music and acting display are the two key elements that keep the movie above water. I can’t properly recommend it unless there’s a personal interest in the main character’s life.
Slow movie with a Great Performance
I didn’t know much about the subject that the film regarded so I looked on Wikipedia just to get the sort of basic plot. I feel like that is what the filmmakers did too. It was insanity surface level.
I think I wanted to know more about Billie’s life as a person and what she was like. It was just like “oh how sad is this!! Look how sad. She is just sad”. I can appreciate that because it is a sad story but I think it would have been nice to have peeks and valleys just so it wouldn’t have been so one note. Billie seems like a fabulous person and there is so much more to her than just sad.
I do think that it handled everything really respectfully and it wasn’t scared about showing anything. Some of the scenes are extremely harrowing and upsetting.
Andrea Day was fantastic though. She really had this sadness behind her performance. It was fantastic and definitely the best part of the movie.
I think that it could have been trimmed down as well. It was meandering and wasted it’s time on pointless plots.
It seemed clear that so much of this was about addiction. Mostly the US governs fixation on white supremacy and stifling any freedoms of Black freedom or acknowledgment. In this era it is hard not to identify the governments role in the downfall of Black freed fights as anything other than criminal and horrible. We need more sunlight on these tales and this is an amazing scrapbook of Lady Days life
Original Language en
Runtime 2 hr 10 min (130 min)
Genre Biography, Drama, Music
Director Lee Daniels
Writer Suzan-Lori Parks (screenplay by), Johann Hari (based on the book “Chasing the Scream” by)
Actors Andra Day, Leslie Jordan, Miss Lawrence, Natasha Lyonne
Awards Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 1 win & 16 nominations.
Production Company N/A
Sound Mix Dolby Digital
Aspect Ratio 2.39 : 1
Camera Bolex H16, Panavision C- and E-Series Lenses (some scenes), Panavision Panaflex Millennium XL2, Panavision Primo, C-, E-Series, Angenieux Optimo and Nikon Nikkor Lenses
Laboratory Company 3 (digital intermediate)
Film Length N/A
Negative Format 16 mm (Kodak Vision3 500T 7219), 35 mm (Kodak Vision3 500T 5219)
Cinematographic Process Digital Intermediate (4K) (Master Format), Panavision (anamorphic) (source format), Super 16 (source format) (some scenes), Super 35 (source format)
Printed Film Format N/A