Bayou and Leanne’s story is heartbreaking to watch, but there are lessons to be learned. It has a beautiful production design and wonderful music to balance the hardships they face.
This review of the Netflix film A Jazzman’s Blues does not contain spoilers.
A Jazzman’s Blues is Tyler Perry’s passion project. It premiered at TIFF and is currently streaming on Netflix. Perry takes us back to 1987 when a stack of letters is delivered to a state attorney general, possible evidence in the long-unsolved murder case of Bayou (Joshua Boone). It’s another tale of star-crossed lovers as Bayou meets Leanne (Solea Pfieffer), they fall in love, but Leanne’s relatives forbid the relationship, and the couple is torn apart. Years later after they both lead their separate lives, they meet again and Bayou is a successful musician. They still have feelings for each other and it is hard for Bayou to see Leanne with someone 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 claiming their identity while growing up in the South. It was a terrible time to live in and Perry doesn’t shy away from those tough conversations. Leanne as she got older would pass as white and neglect her roots as a Black woman in America. Perry showed how different their lives became and how each of them was treated differently. The racism that Bayou experienced, even though he was a talented musician is uncalled for and Leanne knew that. That being her decision leads to discussions about the perception of those who did that. The ending of this film is heartbreaking because she remembers Bayou and sees many of the qualities in her son. There is no justification for the outcome of Bayou’s life and it was difficult to watch in this film.
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