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Bolden | 2019 | R | – 8.7.5

content-ratingsWhy is “Bolden” rated R? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “sexual content and graphic nudity, brutal violence, language and drug use.” The Kids-In-Mind.com evaluation includes several sex scenes with female nudity and partial male and female nudity in non-sex scenes; a couple of brutal murders with bloody wounds shown and several fight scenes both staged and spontaneous ending in bloody wounds, and several scenes of drugs used to sedate asylum patients and several scenes of alcohol use; and about 10 F-words. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.”


Based very loosely on the life of Buddy Bolden, the first Cornet King of New Orleans: a little-known cornet player (Gary Carr) at the turn of the 20th century develops an unorthodox musical style, incurring the wrath of mainstream musicians, but leading the way to American jazz. Also with Reno Wilson, Erik LaRay Harvey, Ian McShane, Michael Rooker and Yaya DaCosta. Directed by Dan Pritzker. [Running Time: 1:48]

Bolden SEX/NUDITY 8

 – Four scenes feature a nude man on his back in bed with a nude woman straddling him at the groin and thrusting while gasping (we see her bare breasts, abdomen, shoulders, thighs, back and buttocks, as well as his bare chest, shoulders and legs).
 In a dark hall, a nude woman runs toward the camera and we can see only her breasts clearly; she opens a door where she finds a nude man on his back and another nude woman thrusting on his groin while gasping until this man runs into another room and we see his profile from head to ankle (we see partial bare chest and abdomen, legs and buttock). Two brief scenes show a nude couple wrapped around each other in an armchair, writhing, apparently having sex (we see their bare backs, shoulders, thighs and buttocks of both the man and woman).
 About 50 women walk toward the camera, holding babies at chest level and one woman is nude and we see her pubic area clearly below her navel and above her bare thighs. A woman stands in frontal nudity with a bloody US flag across her abdomen; her face, breasts, chest, and upper thighs are blood streaked. A woman appears from the waist up, lying nude on a floor with her head in a pool of blood; her face is smashed and swollen, and a bloody X is carved under her left breast (we see her breasts). A woman is shown with a large pregnant abdomen under a long dress; a later scene shows her sweating, gasping, and screaming alone on a bed until she raises a baby wrapped in a blanket above the frame briefly (no blood shows). Several scenes feature shirtless men with numbers painted on their backs and we see bare chests, abdomens, backs and shoulders. Several scenes feature a few shirtless men in a dark asylum ward and along a river sweating as they load cargo onto a riverboat.
 A woman kisses a man briefly, another woman kisses another man for a few seconds, and a man kisses another woman briefly. Several juke joint scenes feature women wearing scoop necklines that reveal cleavage as the women writhe to music and rub their bodies on their male dancing partners’ chests and abdomens. Twice, women rub their hands on the neck and chest of a musician as he performs. A woman wearing a long skirt reveals a full bare leg and thigh through a slit and writhes toward a man, who leaves the room. A clothed man and clothed woman sit together on a bed and laugh as he hugs her from behind. A clothed couple lies in bed and she rubs his back.
 A man chooses a woman for a brothel against her will, and the scene cuts to the woman playing music as men and women hug each other and laugh around the room.


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Bolden VIOLENCE/GORE 7

 - A woman ties a man into a wooden chair and kneels in front of him, and then stabs him in the throat with a long, thick metal pin; we see her face and the back of his head as she stabs, and some blood spatters her face and uncovered thighs as the scene ends. A large man enters a juke joint with a knife and stabs another man in the back (we see no blood and the scene ends as the victim falls).
 Two white policemen use clubs to beat black men who are listening to a speaker on a street; men struggle as they are struck in the stomach and shout and the scene cuts to a headline reading "Riot Outside Negro Dance Hall." A man approaches another man who is on a stage and punches him unconscious; other men grab him, take him outside, and pound him with fists and kicks until he is nearly unconscious in the street and very bloody in the face and head until the scene cuts to a man signing a form to admit the unconscious man to an asylum.
 A dozen fight scene flashbacks include several pairs of men bare knuckle fighting as others bet on them, with loud cheering and shouting: pairs of men pound each other to the ground and suffer bloody faces and hands and chests, several men gang up on one man and pummel him to bleeding from the face and body, an injured man spits out a lot of blood in slow motion, and an aerial shot shows wide blood streaks covering most of a canvas ring floor. Men shout as elementary school boys fight in a street and a boy is knocked down as that scene ends (there's no blood, just dirt on faces). A man backhands another man twice, knocking him down twice. A man slaps a woman into a wall.
 An elderly man sits against a wall in a dark asylum ward as we hear many groans and wails off-screen. We see many scenes in dark, dirty corridors, wards, and treatment rooms in an asylum; men wander the halls and stand staring at walls as close-ups show a nurse pouring ether on a mesh mask and putting it on a man's face while a few men wearing such masks sleep chained to walls in a seated position. Orderlies tie a man to a bed and the man reverts to his young adult self and recalls his life in a series of flashbacks; he talks to himself several times, he seems to walk from his ward straight into a scene of his earlier life, he has blurry visions of people and places and a ghost talks to him and plays trombone.
 A man injected with drugs (please see the Substance Use category for more details) shudders and his eyes roll back; another man shakes him, whereupon the first man vomits a lot of yellowish material onto the floor and he looks dazed (we see the drugged man later with bloodshot eyes in close-up a few times). A man in a silent scene coughs blood onto a young boy and the scene cuts to the man's wife making a white sand pattern for healing on the bedroom floor and kneeling beside it. A silent scene shows a man die after coughing and we see blood stains on his shirt.
 A man walks onto a roof and slips, but finds a place to sit safely. A man in a parade is dragged by other men and pushed aside, which bends the man's musical instrument. A man tries to play a cornet, but the valves are missing; he finally blows his cornet loudly into the face of another cornet player. A man removes the valves from a musical instrument, drops them on the floor and angrily stalks out of a club. A man punches a mirror that cracks loudly (no blood is shown).
 Two men argue loudly, a man shouts at another man, and a man belittles another man and hides his band's only recording. A woman shouts at a man. A pregnant woman kneels in a rainstorm for hours and shouts at her husband when he comes home in the morning. A nurse rushes to a locked ward as we hear a loud, long scream off-screen; she opens the door and finds an elderly man leaning against the wall, listening to a radio program that had mentioned the patient as the first king of jazz.
 A man talks a musician into parachuting out of a hot-air balloon, playing his cornet, over a garden party. Two flashbacks or visions show women wearing flowing ballet gowns in a forest, dancing and playing jazz instruments; a similar scene shows a woman wearing a mask like a hockey mask and a flowing dress, dancing toward the camera.
 We see a close-up of a large stained glass window depicting successful Confederate generals and troops in a wealthy Southern white man's house and we understand that he is a corrupt businessman that recruits black prostitutes for a brothel and stages abusive fights among black competitors.


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Bolden LANGUAGE 5

 - About 10 F-words and its derivatives, 2 scatological terms, 1 anatomical term, 1 mild obscenity, 4 derogatory terms for African-Americans, name-calling (boy, whore, wild, white folks, nothing, garbage, Black Jesus), 3 religious profanities (GD), 1 religious exclamation (Jesus Christ). | profanity glossary |


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Bolden SUBSTANCE USE

 - Ether is used to put patients to sleep for hours in an asylum, a man gives a vial of white powder (likely cocaine or heroin) to another man who hires other men to sell several vials to poor people, three scenes feature a burned spoon from which a man scoops a liquid drug and pokes it into a woman's inner elbow (a spot of blood shows), and a woman pokes a drug into a man's arm and her own arm (no blood shows). Many men drink whiskey in a juke joint in several scenes, some men hold bottles of beer in club scenes, a few women in a club drink wine as several men smoke cigars and cigarettes and drink whiskey, several men and women drink alcohol from flasks, a man sips sherry from a glass as a carafe of the sherry is shown beside him, a bottle of whiskey is seen on a table in a home, a man drinks whiskey from a bottle as he sits on some steps, and a man drinks from large glasses of whiskey as he performs in juke joints.


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Bolden DISCUSSION TOPICS

 - Origins of jazz, slavery, bigotry, Jim Crow, poverty, corrupt business, prostitution, marriage, infidelity, ambition, greed, jealousy, losing friends, unrecognized music pioneers, making a living in music, murder, death, loss, grief, insanity, drug and alcohol abuse.

Bolden MESSAGE

 - Buddy Bolden could have been the creator of New Orleans jazz, but mental illness and corrupt businessmen diminished his legacy.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.



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