I’ve seen ads for this movie everywhere on billboards in Los Angeles, online and several sites, I was thinking it was the movie with Zoe Saldana playing Nina Simone so I didn’t have much interest in seeing. Then it came to my attention through some industry friends that it was actually Nina Simone in the movie.
Anyone who works in the music industry can certainly understand that what happens behind the scenes is not always what the public is privy to. I’m a huge fan of Netflix, as the original shows are stellar and leave a lot to be desired when it comes to network TV and cable.
This movie truly describes Simone’s angst, frustration, disappointment, and personal challenges when her career path is altered from its original target, being the first black female classic pianist, to an often nondescript category base that includes blues, jazz, folk and soul. Unfortunately, none of which truly identify Simone’s genre or genius. In this situation, it is safe to say she was absolutely in a class by herself.
Part of her genius was being able to play one song and sing another song to it effortlessly. I don’t recall any singer ever being able to do this. She kept a diary which she actually reads from that reveals a tumultuous relationship with her husband, a former New York City cop who she stated consistently blacked out in psychotic rages and beat her. She stated he also overworked her when he retired from the police force to become her manager after they got married.
As her career progresses, it becomes evident that she is deeply challenged by mental illness. The movie is not depressing it’s more enlightening, educational and informative.
my best – Kev