Synopsis & Review of A Jazzman’s Blues, Success and Discrimination in the drama film by Tyler Perry
Shy Bayou falls in love with LeAnne and they have a secret love affair. Separated because LeAnne was taken away by her mother, Bayou continued to send her letters even though she never replied.
Meeting again several years later, the forbidden love between them forced Bayou to leave the village. He was transformed into a famous singer in the city. Will he reclaim LeAnne’s love?
A Jazzman’s Blues is a drama film by Tyler Perry which was released as an original Netflix film on September 23, 2022. Usually directing comedy films, this time Tyler Perry tries to present a romantic drama story set in the 1940s era.
With the accompaniment of blues and jazz music that fills the film, will this film, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, be able to change the director’s comedic image? Check out the following review before watching the film.
A shy young man named Bayou is always looked down upon by his father and older brother, Willie Earl. Only his mother defended him.
They lived in a village in Georgia in the 1930s. He meets a beautiful girl named LeAnne who lives with her grandfather. They had a love affair in secret so that LeAnne’s grandfather would not find out.
Bayou’s father left them to pursue his music career in Chicago. Willie Earl soon followed suit.
One night, Bayou saw LeAnne being sexually assaulted, but she did nothing. Bayou then intends to take LeAnne to run away from the village. But before his intention could be carried out, LeAnne was taken away by his mother back to Boston.
Bayou’s heart was broken. He entered the military but was not deployed to the battlefield because he was black. He always sent letters to LeAnne, but they never reached his lover.
He returned to Georgia after the war was over. Bayou then helped his mother’s business by opening a shop and laundry during the day and a bar with live music at night.
One day, Bayou delivers clothes from the laundry to Sheriff Jackson’s house and sees LeAnne who is now the wife of John Clayton, the sheriff’s brother. Apparently LeAnne had changed her identity to become a white woman.
Even so, LeAnne and Bayou still love each other. They then forged a forbidden love affair that could endanger Bayou’s life.
LeAnne’s mother found out about her daughter’s affair and reported it to Sheriff Jackson. He directly gathered people to attack the Bayou. Willie Earl, who is going to Chicago with his manager, Ira, brings Bayou with him for the sake of his life.
Arriving in Chicago, they auditioned to perform at the Capitol Royale. Bayou managed to steal the owner’s attention which immediately made him the lead singer of the place.
While Willie Earl only played the trumpet behind his younger brother. Bayou’s popularity is increasing which makes Willie Earl jealous who is now trapped in a drug trap.
LeAnne gave birth to a son with Bayou. He always wanted to help Bayou’s mother, who is now living in misery because all her businesses were shut down by the new mayor, who is none other than LeAnne’s own husband.
Bayou gets a letter from his mother telling him that he is doing well at home. But Bayou really misses and wants to meet his mother. He also asked Ira to arrange his schedule so he could go to Georgia to bring the band with him to be able to perform at his mother’s bar.
Willie Earl, who was burning with envy towards Bayou, reported his sister’s whereabouts to Sheriff Jackson. In the middle of the performance, Bayou asked permission to leave for a while. Apparently he was going to meet LeAnne who was waiting for him on the bus.
Seeing a group of people carrying torches heading to his mother’s house, Bayou got out of the bus and tried to stop them. What then happened to the Bayou? Will their love both reach a happy ending?
Continue watching this film until it’s over to find the answer. Prepare your hearts for a touching ending.
Tyler Perry is a filmmaker who likes to insert religious messages and racial discrimination topics. We know him through the character Madea who always talks about these two things, but with her harsh and dirty words. But we won’t find all of these elements in this third film for Netflix.
We really appreciate his exploration of various film genres. Besides comedy, he has also directed drama and thriller films.
But this is the first time he is making a romantic drama film set in a time not in modern times, but in the 1930s and 1940s. And you could say, Tyler Perry is quite successful in presenting this love story wrapped in racial discrimination well.
Tyler Perry is not originally from the Atlanta area, he was born in New Orleans, but all of his films have locations in that city. Because you already know the ins and outs of the city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia in general, the choice of location for this film is in accordance with the time setting told.
The production design of this 2 hour 7 minute film is quite authentic. Apart from the location, the support for the costume design as well as the cinematography with a shady coloring like a dream further support the storyline which is presented in the form of this flashback.
The storyline is quite twisty which shows Tyler Perry’s maturity as a scriptwriter. The background story is immediately easy to understand from the start of the film and the character foundations have begun to be drawn as well.
Bend after twist of the story, making the plot a little difficult to predict, even though the tragic ending of the film has been opened from the start.
Through this film, we are shown several layers of topics about how many legal injustices occurred at that time openly. The term segregation has become a common thing that cannot be denied.
In public transportation, black people are placed in the back seat. They are also not allowed to fight even though they have entered the military.
Meanwhile, Bayou is just an ordinary citizen who has no power to break the depravity of his country’s system. He just went with the flow and tried to give in when he was crushed by white people.
For black people who have lighter skin, they can change their identity to become white citizens. This was done in secret by keeping their past tightly closed.
This topic was covered in depth in another Netflix film, Passing (2021). You will understand this problem by watching the film.
Also told is Willie Earl’s great jealousy towards Bayou because of his success as a singer, while he himself only plays trumpet behind him.
He became jealous because all this time he always mocked Bayou, who was considered to have no advantages in the field of music, unlike himself, who always received praise from his father.
And when Bayou became famous, he harbored great envy. The escape from this feeling of disappointment is to drugs. Ultimately, he actually reported Bayou to Sheriff Jackson.
This fragment of the story is similar to the story of Qabil and Habil, two sons of Adam. This proves that Tyler Perry never forgets to insert religious moral messages in his films.
This film also tells the struggle of someone who is used to being looked down upon in proving his quality.
From the beginning of the film, Bayou has been humiliated and humiliated by his father by asking him to play the trumpet on stage. Unable to play it properly, he is only a laughing stock which is then further degraded through his brother’s playing of trumpets.
This one scene is enough to represent his suffering from childhood to adolescence. As it turned out, he was not his father’s biological child, but from another man with whom his mother had an affair.
He had been in the army, also became a shopkeeper. However, his passion is in music. He may not be very good at playing an instrument, but Bayou has a beautiful voice.
As the title implies, this film is filled with jazz and blues music. These two musical genres are displayed in a balanced way.
During the first half of the film, while Bayou was still in Georgia, blues music dominated. Then after Bayou was in Chicago, he sang with jazz music until near the end of the film.
Tyler Perry places the songs in this film according to the storyline and the feelings of the singer in the scene. More or less similar to the function of songs in Indian films.
So by observing the lyrics of the song, we will understand what the singer feels, including being a red thread in the storyline.
The vocals of Joshua Boone, who plays Bayou, are really good. But when singing blues songs, his voice doesn’t really match that type of music. Because usually blues music will feel thick with thick vocal colors. Meanwhile, Joshua Boone has a vocal color that tends to be thin.
But when singing jazz songs, then his vocal aura looks brilliant. Even though we know that he doesn’t sing live in every scene, but rather the recordings, he looks more lively and comfortable when singing jazz songs.
And we were amazed by it, just like the citizens of Chicago who flocked to see it at the Capitol Royale.
Joshua Boone is indeed a newcomer actor. He is more often a guest star in several TV series. The film A Jazzman’s Blues is his second film, after previously playing in an indie film called Premature (2019).
Tyler Perry was not mistaken in placing him as the main character, because he managed to bring the Bayou character well. His expressions and gestures looked natural as a young man who was always being pressured and belittled.
But when Bayou became popular, his face was full of confidence. He also looks like a real jazz star.
Unexpectedly, it turned out that A Jazzman’s Blues was able to ward off our doubts about Tyler Perry’s ability to make romantic drama films.
Indeed, the love story is not explored so deeply because it is always hindered by acts of racial discrimination. But precisely this obstacle increasingly illustrates how great a sense of love they have. All the technical aspects of the film are above standard and are its main strengths.
Meanwhile, the series of songs can bring our mood to drift into the story. Even though the final conclusion was unsatisfactory, only being answered with silence, we are made to understand that breaking the existing legal system is not easy.
This is something that Johnathan, son of LeAnne and Bayou, who is on his way to becoming a senator, understands very well. He only realized who his real father was after reading Bayou’s letters delivered to his office by Hattie Mae, a grandmother he didn’t know.
The end of this film encourages us to sympathize with the victims of this discrimination. For those of you who are looking for a romantic story, maybe this film will not fully satisfy your thirst.
But for those of you who like films about someone’s struggle to achieve a better life, the film A Jazzman’s Blues is one of the films that you must watch.