What’s Love Got To Do With It

As a truthful account of the life of Tina Turner or as a faithful adaptation of her as-told-to autobiography, I, Tina, this 1993 film can’t be taken too seriously. But as a powerhouse showcase for the acting talents of Angela Bassett (who plays Turner) and Laurence Fishburne (who plays her abusive husband, Ike) and as a potent portrayal of wife beating and the emotions that surround it (in this case, Ike’s professional envy and Tina’s stoic acceptance of abuse), it’s quite a show. As with the even sillier Lady Sings the Blues (Diana Ross’s ridiculous depiction of Billie Holiday), which harked back to a still earlier model of musical biopic, showbiz instincts tend to triumph as common sense and fidelity to fact disintegrate, though the handling of place and period is slightly better than one usually finds in such enterprises, and the slant of a woman screenwriter (Kate Lanier) is also highly welcome. Directed by Brian Gibson; with Vanessa Bell Calloway, Jenifer Lewis, Phyllis Yvonne Stickney, and Khandi Alexander. (JR)

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