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The Lookout | April 12, 2021

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Movie review: Holiday bio educates

Movie review: Holiday bio educates
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Four out of Five Stars

By Maddy Warren
Editor In Chief

When talking about popular streaming services Netflix is often brought up first. And no one is denying that it is one of, if not the best, television streaming services out there.

However, anyone looking for underrated movies should see what Hulu has to offer. It has a lot of hidden gems if you are willing to search through the platform’s messy layout.

One of Hulu’s most recent films, “The United States Vs. Billie Holiday,” was released Friday, Feb. 26. The movie follows the life of the late jazz singer Billie Holiday (played by Andra Day), and the trials she faced as an artist and a Black woman living in the 1940s.

“The United States Vs. Billie Holiday” focuses on the controversy surrounding Holiday’s song “Strange Fruit,” and the attempts by Harry Anslinger (played by Garrett Hedlund), and The Federal Bureau of Narcotics to destroy her career.

The lyrics of “Strange Fruit” give a detailed description of, and bring awareness to, the lynchings of Black Americans taking place in the south during this time. The government was unhappy with Holiday for releasing the song, claiming it “provokes people.”

The film also focuses on Holiday’s drug use and addiction to heroin, and it covers her 1947 arrest and conviction.

Day’s portrayal of Holiday is nothing less than perfect, down to her spot-on imitation of Holiday’s iconic voice.

Despite Day’s award-winning performance – (no seriously, she won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama on Feb. 28) – the film, as a whole, is missing something that I can’t quite put my finger on.

Overall, this movie can be enjoyed by both Holiday fans and anyone interested in learning more about the history behind “Strange Fruit” and the life of the famous jazz singer.

There are mixed reviews from critics on the outcome of this film, but Holiday fans will have to decide for themselves what they think of it.