10 fantastic music biopics that you may not know

Films you might have missed but need to see.

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Born to Be Blue, Robert Budreau’s stirring biography of jazz legend Chet Baker, came out in the States on the same day as Don Cheadle’s Miles Davis movie. Miles Ahead got more attention. Born to Blue is a significantly better movie. Ethan Hawke gave the best performance of his career to that point in portraying Baker as he attempted a comeback after heroin addiction derailed his career.

His Baker is infinitely charming and infinitely selfish, almost completely reliant on the devoted members of his inner circle to see him through his troubles. That inner circle is mostly comprised of Carmen Ejogo (in a dual role) and Callum Keith Rennie as his friend and producer.

True to the jazz at the heart of his story, Budreau jumps around in time, mixing black & white flashbacks seamlessly into the narrative. It was a technique Cheadle also attempted in the Miles Davis movie, but it didn’t work as well, in part because of a rather cumbersome cops and robbers plotline stitched into Miles Ahead.

By the way, Davis shows up as a character in the Baker movie, rather ominously as it turns out, played by Kedar Brown. (By the way, pt 2 - there’s a very good documentary about Baker from 1988 called Let’s Get Lost – just in case you prefer that kind of thing.)