Lady Sings the Blues
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Diana Ross plays the magnificent, tragic song stylist Billie Holiday, who while writhing in a strait jacket in a prison cell, awaiting sentencing on drug charges, reflects on her turbulent life. Raped in her youth by a drunk (Adolph Caesar), then compelled to work as a domestic in a Harlem whorehouse, Holliday is encouraged to try for a singing career by the bordello's pianist (Richard Pryor). She rises as high as it is possible to go in the white-dominated show business world of the 1930s, but can't handle the pressure and turns to narcotics. The film takes several liberties with the… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Ross conveys the vulnerability and determination of her character across a very believable arc of maturation."
‑ Douglas Pratt, Hollywood Reporter
"Clearly, it's an affront to Holiday's art, but just as clearly, it's a good piece of low entertainment."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"Ross so perfectly captures the essence of Billie Holiday's vocal style that it sends chills down your spine."
‑ Cole Smithey,
"Great score, great singing, but overdramatic thanks to Ross."
‑ Steve Crum, Kansas City Kansan
"How is it possible for a movie that is otherwise so dreadful to contain such a singularly attractive performance in the title role?"
‑ Vincent Canby, New York Times
"Though she doesn't look or sing as Billie Holiday, Diana Rosss gives a commendable performance in this fictionalized biopic, for which she received an Oscar noimination."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Berry Gordy's gift to Diana Ross was this lavish, bloated Billie Holiday biopic."
‑ Eric Henderson, Slant Magazine
"The movie is filled with many of the great Billie Holiday songs, and Ross handles them in an interesting way. She doesn't sing in her own style, and she never tries to imitate Holiday, but she sings somehow in the manner of Holiday."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"View this film about Billie Holiday as a completely fictional story, and you'll enjoy it far more than you would otherwise."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Ross and director Sidney J. Furie seem to feel that the slower the song, the more serious the mood, so at times the film seems to be grinding almost to a halt"
‑ Don Willmott,
More reviews for Lady Sings the Blues on Rotten Tomatoes

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