The United States vs. Billie Holiday (2021)
August 7, 2023 10:19 AM - Subscribe

[TRAILER] Follows jazz legend Billie Holiday (Andra Day) 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 has a tumultuous affair.

Also starring Trevante Rhodes, Garrett Hedlund, Leslie Jordan, Miss Lawrence, Adriane Lenox, Natasha Lyonne, Rob Morgan, Da'Vine, Joy Randolph, Evan Ross, Tyler James Williams.

Directed by Lee Daniels. Written by Suzan-Lori Parks, based on the book Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs by Johann Hari.

55% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently streaming in the US on Hulu. JustWatch.

box was kind enough to support MeFi with a donation. Their request was for six films about musicians, either biopics or doc. That was too easy, so I'm doing six of each. I'll be using the tag #MusicianStories

Donate $25 or more to MeFi and you can MeMail me a request for a themed day of your own. I'll fill up the sidebar on FF with six movies that fit your theme.
posted by DirtyOldTown (2 comments total)
Maybe the more obvious choice would have been Lady Sings the Blues, but that movie is beloved more as a Diana Ross star turn (and holy shit, it is that) than as any kind of legitimate portrayal of Holiday and her life. Andra Day is amazing here and in a better overall film, would have been an awards contender.

Still worth seeing.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:20 AM on August 7, 2023

Movies that nearly made this list:
  • Backbeat - unauthorized biopic of Beatles's early days has no Beatles originals, but the story is great, the actors are good and the behind the camera band they put together: Davie Pirner from Soul Asylum as Paul, Greg Dulli from The Afghan Whigs as John; Thurston Moore of sonic Youth and Don Fleming of Gumball on guitars; Mike Mills of REM on bass; Dave Grohl on drums; and Henry Rollins as Stuart Sutcliffe is AMAZING. Doesn't exist anywhere to stream though, sadly.
  • Jimi: All Is By My Side - same authorized music issue as Backbeat, but Andre 3000 as Jimi is pretty great.
  • Elvis - John Carpenter's excellent TV movie biopic of Elvis with Kurt Russell as Presley barely exists anywhere anymore outside of bootlegs.
  • Lady Sings the Blues - See above.
  • Shine - not available to stream.
  • Sweet Dreams - a little melodramatic and chintzy but hey: Jessica Lange as Patsy Cline. Not streaming, but it is on YouTube.

posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:29 AM on August 7, 2023

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