With great power comes great responsibility. It’s the quote that defined Spider-Man, but one that sadly very few adhere to in real life as most people in a position of power or fame use it as an opportunity to just keep exploiting those around them. I’m not here to talk about politics though but rather a new movie that is coming out which focuses on the story of legendary jazz and swing singer Billie Holiday and her fight with the US government.
The United States vs Billie Holiday is directed by Lee Daniels, and tells the story of how Holiday rose to prominence through her powerful music and then her decision to write politically charged tracks such as the anti-lynching song Strange fruit that set her on a collision course with the FBI. The US government who would do whatever it could to stop her from singing, eventually using her drug problems as a way of getting her behind bars.
Focuses on 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.
It’s the type of biopic that is designed to rouse and inspire us with its strong political message – that remains sadly true to this day – and inspirational story. It’s the sort of historical drama that Daniels thrives in and has shown a remarkable ability to tell. What really stands out in this trailer is the performance from singer Andra Day who looks perfectly at home as a lead actress and does a remarkable job bringing the troubled life of Billie Day to the big screen.
The United States vs Billie Holiday is written by Suzan-Loro Parks and also stars Trevante Rhodes, Garrett Hedlund, Natasha Lyonne, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Evan Ross, Dana Gourrier, Erik LaRay Harvey, and Melvin Gregg. The film was scheduled for theatrical release towards the end of 2020 but was picked up by Hulu instead and releasing on February 26th, 2021.
A move which should give it a better shot at both getting seen by more people and possibly make a push for awards recognition. Based on the evidence of this trailer, it’s a film that certainly has all the right stuff for the latter.
Last Updated: January 13, 2021