Linda Cook review: ‘Tina’ is a documentary about an iconic, strong woman

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A terrific documentary about a one-of-a-kind entertainer, “Tina” is like reading Tina Turner’s diary.

Told over the decades in five parts, the movie rungs the gamut of her life and her – almost – never-ending search for love.

Turner, now 80, tells much of her story herself. Born Anna Mae Bullock in Tennessee, she was a young background singer for Ike Turner and his Kings of Rhythm out of St. Louis.

Later she toured as part of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue.

As anyone familiar with her story knows, backstage wasn’t always a happy place for her. Once again – as she has been asked to do over and over again after she revealed details of her abusive marriage – she tells about the horrors involved in her violent marriage, which she finally left in the early 1980s.

Onstage, it appears was something else, as we see up close in beautifully restored footage from live performances. No one ever did, or could, move like Tina Turner, and the appreciative audiences embraced her with applause in every concert hall.

That didn’t change when the dynamo who became a one-word icon transitioned into a world-renowned solo performer who earned an award-winning biopic starting Angela Bassett (she is among those interviewed here, while Oprah Winfrey is another.)

Some of my favorite moments include a sort of origin story about her hit tune “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” The song, which Tina Turner didn’t like at first, wasn’t originally meant for her – you can hear the pop group Bucks Fizz that records it first here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGU8usqzgrg. Turner took it on a new direction, indeed.

Tina Turner’s search for love is a theme throughout. The final parts of the film – including an incredible performances of a Beatles number – is uplifting and joyous.

If you don’t know Tina Turner, you need to meet her through this film. If you’re already familiar with her, you’ll become a fan when you see this film.

3 1/2 stars

Rated: TV-MA for foul language and descriptions of violence.

Running time: Two hours.

Streaming on HBO Max, amazon prime and hulu.  

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