The Queen of Rock & Roll, Mrs. Tina Turner, is TINA’s subject, a feature documentary from Academy Award®-winning directors Dan Lindsay, T.J. Martin, and Lightbox. The documentary reveals an intimate look at the life and career of musical icon Tina Turner. Charting Tina’s improbable rise to early fame, her personal and professional struggles throughout her life, and her even more improbable resurgence as a global phenomenon in the 1980s. This unvarnished, dynamic account features insightful interviews with Tina herself and those closest to her. The discussions take place in her hometown of Zurich, Switzerland. It also features a wealth of never-before-seen footage, audiotapes, and personal photos, telling a deep and absorbing story about the queen of rock ‘n’ roll in all its complexity.
While we have all seen the classic film What’s Love Got to Do with It, many of the film’s elements were “fictionalized for dramatic purposes”. Therefore, I was looking forward to hearing Ms. Turner tell her own version in this documentary. Turner, who retired from performing in 2009, has been out of the spotlight for the last decade. Thus, when Tina appears on screen dressed in elegant attire, it is a welcome return. In hindsight, one could say that the documentary serves as a companion piece along with her Broadway musical as her farewell to the fans.
Throughout Tina, we hear stories about her rags to riches to rags to riches tale. Most surprising about the documentary is the handling of her marriage to Ike Turner. Tina does not spend the entire film bashing Ike or focusing only on the abuse, but his musical talent and ambition also. That is not to say the documentary ignores Ike’s abuse towards Tina; it is just not the central focus. More than anything, Tina turns into an underdog story. We see the singer get the best of racist record executives and shut down scrumptious reporters who only want to discuss her past.
I also enjoyed that Tina features interviews with entertainment luminaries such as Angela Bassett and Oprah Winfrey. Journalist Kurt Loder co-authored “I, Tina,” which inspired her biopic, and playwright Katori Hall, who scribed “Tina – The Tina Turner Musical,” show up as well. Finally yet importantly, Tina’s husband and former record executive Erwin Bach speaks.
For fans and non-fans of The Queen of Rock & Roll, Tina is highly recommended.
Final Grade: B+
Tina debuts SATURDAY, MARCH 27 (8:00 PM – 10:00 PM ET/PT) on HBO and will be available to stream on HBO Max.