Director: Lee Daniels
Writer: Suzan-Lori Parks (Screenplay) Johann Hari (Novel)
Starring: Andra Day, Leslie Jordan, Miss Lawrence, Natasha Lyonne, Trevante Rhodes, Dusan Dukic, Erik LaRay Harvey
Plot: Follows Holiday during her career as she is targeted by the Federal Department of Narcotics with an undercover sting operation led by black Federal Agent Jimmy Fletcher, with whom she had a tumultuous affair.
Tagline – Her Voice Would Not Be Silenced
Runtime: 2 Hours 10 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: The United States vs Billie Holiday starts as we see how Billie Holiday (Day) found herself becoming the attention of the FBI after one of her songs turn heads, as it was depicting the lynching black people suffered through. The FBI managed to get Billie locked away for one year, before she tried to rebuild her career.
As Billie has been suffering from her own childhood trauma, she has an addiction to drug, this will soon become the battle between Billie’ addictions and the FBI desperately trying to stop her continue rise to stardom that could bring the bigger divide between the country.
Thoughts on The United States vs Billie Holiday
Thoughts – The United States vs Billie Holiday is a biopic looking to the battle between the singer Billie Holiday and the FBI who believed her song bought out a new rise because it exposed more of the horrors done towards black people in America, turning to her drug addiction to make her life a nightmare. We get to go through the different years where Billie continued to look to perform and always saw people coming after her, never letting her face her own dreams, or helping her handle the nightmares which pushed her into the way she became, from a life nobody should have experienced. The FBI’s relentless hounding of her does come off as disgraceful, showing they only wanted to make her quiet, while she entertained the fans of the world. Andra Day has been nominated for her performance, which is easy to see why because she is a demanding presence on camera. The supporting cast do give us strong performances throughout, though they never reach the same heights as her.
Final Thoughts – The United States vs Billie Holiday is an interesting biopic on an incredible musician that refused to back down.