The United States vs. Billie Holiday Review – Captivating, Riveting, Tragic

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

The United States vs. Billie Holiday, a Hulu original film, presents the story of the FBI campaign mounted against her to stop her from bringing attention to the continued murders and lynching of the southern Negros.

The film begins with Billie Holiday, played by Andra Day, sitting down with Reginald Lord Devine, played by Leslie Jordan, for an interview. At this time, we understand the interview is billed as a comeback with Devine, a flamboyant character with skeletons of his own, and Holiday, showing signs of hard living.


Nomadland Review – A Solid Emotional Story and Affecting Performances


The interview digresses into the beginning of Holiday's rise. The Social Club, in Manhattan, in flashback we see Billie, stunning, silky smooth cocoa skin, beautiful stepping to the microphone stand she silences the crowd with her song.

After the show, a solider Jimmy, played by Trevante Rhodes, attempts to visit her backstage. He is dismissed. Soon he returns as a member of the media hoping for an interview. Holiday plays smitten using the celebrity tease to pull him closer.

We find understand that Billie, like many artists, has a heroin addiction. At this time, Holiday was headlining. A single song, "Strange Fruit," which shocked with its authentic lyrical depiction of lynching's, made her a target of the FBI.


Land Review – Gripping, Mesmerizing, A Directorial Triumph


After repeatedly begin told she cannot sing Strang Fruit, she stepped on stage and lining the back of the club were dozens of uniformed police, along with FBI Agent Harry Anslinger, played by Garret Hedlund. In a moment of rage and defiance she begins to sing, "Strange Fruit," immediately Anslinger give the order and the police move to arrest her.

She escapes with Lester Young, played by Tyler James Williams and the two hide out in his apartment. Between the highs and lows of shooting heroin she wants a food run and when she opens the door the FBI, with Agent Jimmy Fletcher, the magazine interviewer, who used the ruse, to get close to her to confirm her drug use, busting her for heroin usage.

She is sentenced to a year in prison. Once released her talent is her only source of income and as she remains a target of the FBI, they begin a check-mate game, as the bureau counter's each of her moves with a brick wall.


The World to Come Review - Compelling, Emotional, Engaging


As the film progresses, the audience understands that although she was triumphant, she never triumphed over the tragedy she suffered in her life. It haunted her throughout her career and manifest in her relationship choices, her addiction to heroin, alcohol, and physical abuse.

For a moment she experienced genuine love, with Federal Agent Fletcher, and the innocence of experiencing love, from silliness to soul connections, were beyond her ability to comprehend. She wasn't able to equate love without abuse.

In back of her mind, she knew it would eventually and probably sooner than later fall apart and she would be left to pick up the pieces of her shattered heart. It was easier to control the lovers by choosing acceptable users, undesirables in a use-use relationship, than fall into the unknown.

Beautiful and broken, burdened with childhood abuse, life as a negro in the 1930s, which translated to a community to be bought and sold, without rights, free allegedly but left abandoned by the government who approved freedom, and yet, ensured slavery through poverty, illiteracy, and violence. The human spirit can only absorb so much shock. Ms. Holiday absorbed enough by age ten.

Her ability to galvanize the now freed African American race and more importantly her celebrity status and the lyrics to Strange Fruit, which she sings defiantly in South Carolina, brought unnecessary attention on the management of the now freed slave. Which made her a permanent target of the FBI.

With white and influential northerner's aware of the frequency of lynching, which were committed at will and random, without cause and considered justified under the law, killing her, or silencing her, destroying her reputation, was necessary to maintain the maintenance of the freed, yet enslaved negro.


The Father Review – Brilliant, Impacting and Poignant


The ensemble cast delivers riveting performances throughout. The film doesn't sugar coat the facts of this season in Ms. Holiday's life nor does it water down the continued abuse she chased.

Andra Day embodies the character and becomes this broken, talented, beautiful, soulful, addicted and abusive rendition of Billie Holiday. It is a captivating performance.

The United States vs. Billie Holiday begins streaming exclusively on Hulu February 26, 2020. See it!

 

Country: USA.

Language: English.

Runtime: 130minutes.

Director:  Lee Daniels.

Screenplay: Suzan-Lori Parks. 

Cast: Andra Day, Trevante Rhodes, Garrett Hedlund, Leslie Jordan, Miss Lawrence, Adriane Lenox, Natasha Lyonne, Rob Morgan, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Evan Ross, Tyler James Williams, Tone Bell, Blake DeLong, Dana Gourrier, Melvin Gregg, Erik LaRay Harvey, Ray Shell.

Haute Tease

  • Ambiguïtés Africaines

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    L'opération Barkhane, initiée par l'ancien président François Hollande, dans le but de freiner les milices islamiques radicales en Afrique du Nord, se poursuit depuis huit ans. La dette annuelle d'un milliard d'euros, couplée à la pandémie, a rendu l'opération pérenne.  

  • Bonhams Announces "Behind Closed Doors" Sale of SoCal Impressionist and Western Art

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    On August 4, Bonhams will offer important and fresh to the market works in the sale of California and Western Art. Featured are 161 works from notable collections of Barron Hilton, Russell Chatham, and The Kelton Foundation, among others.

     
  • The English Teacher Review – It Was the Best of Times; It Was the Worst of Times

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The English Teacher,” the comedy/drama from Inferno Entertainment and Artina Films Production, brings to the screen a charming dark tale of love, romance, fleeting passions, and literature.

     
  • CosmoGirl! and NY/LA Model's Crown Next Fashion Princess

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    "So You Want To Be A Model" contest sponsored by New York/LA Model Management and Cosmo Girl! Magazine ended its national search for that new fresh face at a recent star-studded competition held at the trendy Manhattan hot spot Plumm.

     
  • Belushi Review – A Wild, Zany, and Heartbreaking Tribute

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Belushi, a Showtime Documentary, presents a tribute to John Belushi, one of the greatest physical comedians of the twentieth century, wild, zany, and heartbreaking as he followed his dream of making people laugh while ultimately fighting drug-induced demons.

     
  • Pennsylvania House Race: Although 18th District Too Close To Call Democrat Claims Victory

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Pennsylvania House of Representative Special Election, with 100% of the precincts reporting and a full six hours after the polls have closed, is waiting for a winner as no media has yet called the race.

     
  • Celebrity Interview: Director Gavin Hood Talks on the Making of Official Secrets, Casting, and Loyalty

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Gavin Hood, co-writer and director of Official Secrets, the contemporary espionage thriller chronicling the leak of a top-secret memo, the subsequent arrest and trial of British Spy Katherine Gun recently spoke with Haute-Lifestyle.com Publisher Janet Walker.

     
  • Op/Ed: The Children, the Caravan, and Health

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Recent border clashes produced shocking images that triggered condemnation from many who failed to realized there are three aspects to the caravan: what is shown by the media; what is there to be seen; and what is unseen.

     
  • Holiday Home Cooking: Diestel Turkey Review - When Only the Best Will Do

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    As the holiday season quickly approaches, preparations for family gatherings including choosing the menu, that could include a variation of poultry, meats, seafood and pasta now include planning for leftovers which has become as popular as the main meal itself.

     
  • Safe Solutions for Six Common Beach Body Concerns

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Summertime and the living is easy! Warm weather gives way to bare skin, sandals, beach days and cool nights, and for most summertime also reveals, and in our eyes glaring, beauty imperfections; skin blotches, stubborn cellulite and stretch marks.

     
  • Celebrity Interview: Talking with Armie Hammer on Final Portrait, Geoffrey Rush and Inspiration

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Armie Hammer, who's star power is seriously on the rise, is becoming quite well known and after his award nominated performance in Call Me By Your Name, is their anywhere on the planet where he isn't recognized?

     
  • The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and BBVA Team Up To Launch Scholarship Program

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The World's 50 Best Restaurants organization and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) announce the 50 Best BBVA Scholarship, which provides unique opportunities for aspiring chefs from around the world to work under the World's Best Chefs.

     
  • World News: COVID-19 Granulizes Democracy

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Faced with the need to limit individual and collective freedoms to combat the COVID-19, contemporary democracies are torn between defending libertarian achievements and castrating health imperatives. Which one will eventually take over the other?

     
  • Miami Woman Savagely Beaten Remains Comatose

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Danielle Jones, 23, a Miami, Florida caterer, is clinging to life after she was savagely beaten, bludgeoned, strangled, slashed and left for dead on Valentine's Day, which is also her birthday, by her roommate of one week that she found on Craigslist.

     
  • Money News: Top Global Markets Close Down; Shanghai Rallies

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The DOW Jones Industrial Average, fell to the bear and closed the trading week down with stinging triple digit losses as the Wall Street mauling carried over into the top ten global markets with records highs and strong performances erased across the European and Asian Markets.