Mo' Better Blues
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Spike Lee's 1990 directing effort is a jazz film, the story of a fictional trumpeter named Bleek Gilliam (Denzel Washington). He leads a quintet at the Beneath the Underground club with a flashy saxophonist named Shadow Henderson (Wesley Snipes). Though Shadow takes a few too many solos, everything seems fine in Bleek's life. Trouble soon arises, however, and he is forced to make decisions regarding both his best friend Giant (Spike Lee), and his relationships with two women. Giant, his manager and old pal, is addicted to gambling and often gets roughed up by thugs looking for pay… More
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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 73%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Personal rather than social issues come to the fore in Mo' Better Blues, a Spike Lee personality piece dressed in jazz trappings that puffs itself up like Bird but doesn't really fly."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"Mo' Better Blues is not a great film, but it's an interesting one, which is almost as rare."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"It's a burning, feeling film of impulses, bringing out the best in the filmmaker, who used to create miniature moviegoing events with his releases, before He Got Game came along and smothered his good taste."
‑ Brian Orndorf, BrianOrndorf.com
"Denzel, Wesley and Co are fine, but Mo' Better Blues hits too many bum notes."
‑ , Film4
"Atmospheric character study by Lee with a bravely unlikable Denzel Washington."
‑ Rob Thomas, Capital Times (Madison, WI)
"Though it's full of striking visual ideas and actorly turns, it never fully convinces."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"From characters to camera angles, this story of a self-absorbed jazz trumpeter is one long cliche, the kind that might make his most loyal admirers wince and wonder, 'Spike, what happened?'"
‑ Caryn James, New York Times
"It's tight, suspenseful, funny and packed with great music."
‑ Charles Shaar Murray, Empire Magazine
"Centering on the career of a jazz musician (well played by Denzel Washington, just before he became a star), this mid-range picture has nice production values but the drama is too diffuse, lacking the edge of Spike Lee's more overtly political works."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Denzel Washington really comes into his own in this one, as a struggling jazz musician. Worth a rental for his performance, alone!"
‑ Alex Sandell, Juicy Cerebellum
"Despite stylish camerawork and sturdy acting, this lengthy indulgence succeeds neither as jazz movie nor as cautionary tale."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"For the only time in his remarkable career, Spike Lee has failed to tell it like it is."
‑ Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
"Full of wonderful music, grand visuals, and melodramatic plot twists, the movie is laced with very funny moments, as well as interesting insights into the world of jazz and the plight of the dedicated musician."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Spike Lee's film is filled with promising ideas and moments of technical virtuosity."
‑ Douglas Pratt, DVDLaser
"Spike Lee's creative film revolving around the difficulties modern men have in finding the proper balance between work and love in their lives."
‑ Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
More reviews for Mo' Better Blues on Rotten Tomatoes