The United States vs Billie Holiday
January 8, 2021
The United States vs. Billie Holiday is a 2021 American biographical film about singer Billie Holiday, based on the book Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs by Johann Hari. Directed by Lee Daniels, the film stars Andra Day in the titular role, along with Trevante Rhodes, Natasha Lyonne and Garrett Hedlund. Set in the 1940s, Billie Holiday is targeted by the government in an effort to racialize the war on drugs, ultimately aiming to stop her from singing her controversial song “Strange Fruit”.
Initially set to be theatrically released by Paramount Pictures, the film was sold to Hulu in December 2020, and digitally released in the United States on February 26, 2021. The United States vs. Billie Holiday received mixed reviews from critics, who praised Day’s performance but criticized the direction and screenplay as unfocused. At the 78th Golden Globe Awards, it won Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama (Day), and was also nominated for Best Original Song (“Tigress and Tweed”).