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Rated NR

Drama, Musical
Jeffrey Wright and Beyoncé Knowles would be serious Oscar contenders for their portrayals of Muddy Waters and Etta James had this been a better movie. The film is OK, but when you have stars acting their butts off, you want excellence. Wright and Knowles do their own singing, and Knowles also showcases some significant acting chops, especially in a scene in which her character has shot heroin. However, the movie is taken down a notch by the glossy portrayal of Leonard Chess (Adrien Brody), who bought off his stars with Cadillacs rather than paying them the royalties they deserved. The movie has some significant flaws, but its portrayal of the music is truly incredible, including excellent work by Mos Def as Chuck Berry.

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