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Toronto Review: Tyler Perry’s ‘A Jazzman’s Blues’

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The mix of musical genres in the title of this Toronto Film Festival Gala Presentation reflects the wildly uneven tone of this rare drama from Tyler Perry Studios, a lush romantic musical telling the story of a Southern lynching with echoes of the murder of Emmett Till in Mississippi 1955.

An imminent bow on Netflix is probably the best strategy for it; Perry may have his following, but it’s hard to imagine a crossover audience for A Jazzman’s Blues.The setting is the city of Hopewell in Georgia, 1987, and an old Black lady is listening to a TV interview with a local politician, who’s talking down competition from an African American candidate by invoking the now-familiar GOP taking point of inverse racism. “I’ve had just about enough of you, mister white man,” she tells the screen and sets off to his office.

Once there, she refuses to leave, finally barging into his office with claims of a murder that occurred in 1947 and a stack of loosely bound letters that provide the evidence.

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