Netflix’s Chadwick Boseman: Portrait Of An Artist Review: A Sweet Tribute

Some artists leave an everlasting impression on our minds and lives with their work. In Chadwick Boseman: Portrait of an Artist, the late actor’s co-stars, film directors and writers come together and speak of his brilliance and his dedicated way of working on any project. Last year, the actor passed away in August due to colon cancer. Boseman’s demise left his family, friends, colleagues and fans worldwide heartbroken.

The Netflix special features Viola Davis, Denzel Washington, Spike Lee, George C. Wolfe, Branford Marsalis, and Phylicia Rashad. The documentary starts with Chadwick Boseman’s voice in the background in which he says, “I am an artist. People call me an actor. I wouldn’t necessarily call myself an actor. I would call myself an artist.”

Phylicia Rashad talks about the curiosity Boseman had about the art of acting. The actor/producer met him at Howard University, where she would teach one of the classes. Rashad says that with his open wide eyes, the late actor would ask questions and learn everything about cinema and performance.

Chadwick Boseman Portrait of an artist netflix
Chadwick Boseman’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom co-star Viola Davis

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom was Chadwick Boseman’s last film that released on Netflix. For his performance, the actor has won many awards this year – Golden Globe Award, Critics’ Choice Award, AACTA International Award, SAG Award, NAACP Image Award. Whoever has watched the film speaks of his exceptional portrayal of Levee Green. His co-star Viola Davis speaks highly of her co-star in the documentary too.

In Chadwick Boseman: Portrait of an Artist, Viola Davis revealed that she was scared when she got to know she has to work with the late actor, and in a good way. Viola says how determined Chadwick is towards every character he plays. So even his co-stars also have to up their game because Boseman notices. The actor’s Black Panther co-star and movie directors also speak of the lengths he would go for every character he has played – T’Challa, James Brown, Jackie Robinson and several others.

Chadwick Boseman Portrait of an artist
Chadwick Boseman

The documentary brings you close to the artist Chadwick was. It hits you hard and makes you realise the fact that he is indeed gone, and it’s a loss that can never be replaced. The people present in the documentary share different anecdotes, which show that he was not just a serious actor; he would also have fun on the sets. He embodied every character he had signed up for in his career.

Chadwick Boseman Portrait of an artist review
A still from Chadwick Boseman: Portrait of an Artist

The documentary ends with Chadwick Boseman’s words that describe his aptly – The through-line is not the characters. It’s what it takes me through or what challenges does it bring to me. Whether I can do it or not, I should at least be pushing my own boundaries.”

Chadwick Boseman: Portrait of an Artist: Is it worth it?

Overall, the mini Netflix documentary is a sweet tribute to the Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom actor. It’s a reminder of how he changed the way people cast people of colour artists and how his legacy will always be remembered and respected.

Chadwick Boseman: Portrait of an Artist is currently streaming on Netflix.

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Pooja Darade
Exploring all kinds of cinema and stories. Superhero and fantasy dramas, comedy, horror and crime thriller are my favourite genres. I worry that my last sentence would be - 'Sh*t, I forgot to watch that film/show'.

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