The United States vs. Billie Holiday

The United States vs. Billie Holiday

The United States vs. Billie Holiday

Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Andra Day delivers a Golden Globe-winning performance as the great Billie Holiday in this biographical drama from Oscar-nominated director Lee Daniels (Precious), depicting the artist's career as she is targeted by the Federal Department of Narcotics.

The legendary Billie Holiday, one of the greatest jazz musicians of all time, spent much of her career being adored by fans across the globe. Beginning in the 1940’s in New York City, the federal government targeted Holiday in a growing effort to escalate and racialize the war on drugs, ultimately aiming to stop her from singing her controversial and heart-wrenching ballad, "Strange Fruit." Written by Suzan-Lori Parks, the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Drama, co-starring Trevante Rhodes (Moonlight) and Emmy nominee Natasha Lyonne (Orange is the New Black).

Best Actress (Day) - Drama, Golden Globes 2021
2021131 minsUSA
DramaMusicTrue Story & Biography

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The United States vs. Billie Holiday / Reviews

Slant Magazine

Slant Magazine

The film finds its purpose most pointedly when it zeroes in on the unambiguous relationship between Holiday and "Strange Fruit."

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Variety

Variety

This is gripping stuff, to be sure, yet the movie, volatile as it is, lacks a full dramatic center and the momentum that would flow out of it.

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USA Today

USA Today

Makes as strong a case for Holiday being a civil-rights pioneer as its stunning star does for potential Oscar glory.

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The Guardian

The Guardian

The direction and storytelling are laborious, without the panache and incorrectness of earlier Daniels movies such as Precious (2008) and The Paperboy (2012).

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Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter

Day mesmerizes even when Lee Daniels' unwieldy bio-drama careens all over the map with stylistic inconsistency and narrative dysfunction...

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Independent

Independent

A sloppy, reductive take on the singer's life.

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A.V. Club

A.V. Club

This central thesis isn't enough to sustain 130 minutes' worth of movie.

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Entertainment Weekly

Entertainment Weekly

Hers was a life that often played like a melodrama - addiction, heartbreak, shadowy government conspiracies - and so Daniels largely chooses to portray it as one, often to messy and outsized effect.

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