GFF 21: Tina (2021) Review

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Proud Mary rolled into Glasgow Film Festival this year with ‘The Best’ music documentary of the year in Tina.

Filmed with the blessing and cooperation of Tina Turner, it leaves no (rolling) stone unturned in chronicling her incredible career.

Even die-hard fans may learn new facts about the star. Such as, did you know her renaissance in the 80s was built upon a track originally recorded by Bucks Fizz?! Yes, the Eurovision Song Contest winning Bucks Fizz. Mind Blown.

In addition to a variety of talking heads, Tina herself is candidly interviewed with no subject off (Nutbush City) limits.

Any biopic about Tina must inevitably confront the shadow cast by Ike Turner. Instrumental in launching her professional career but responsible for so much pain in her personal life.

What interestingly started as a People magazine article that only warranted a small headline in the top corner of the cover, snowballed into a topic that would define the first half of her career.

She was persuaded to write a book on her life story. A book that she somewhat naively believed would put an end to the saga. Instead it simply led to more questions and even a movie adaptation starring Angela Bassett.

This leads to an extraordinary and excruciating appearance at the Venice Film Festival press conference where, when asked what she thinks of the film, she states that she has not seen it and has no plans to as she is not interested in reliving the pain. Cue Bassett’s face trying to hide the awkwardness in the room!

Film fans may be slightly disappointed to see that Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome is glossed over pretty quickly and there is no room for her joining the elite group of musicians performing Bond themes. Goldeneye is still one of the all-time great title songs!

However this minor quibbles cannot take away from a documentary, that unlike many others, you come away from feeling ike you know the artist better.

NB: Out of all the films at this year’s virtual festival, this is the one that would have been something to see with a packed audience in GFT1. The reason being that the end credits roll over a live performance of “The Best” which has famously been adopted by one Glasgow football team and probably despised by the other and would have made for an interesting sing-a-long!

Rating: ★★★★☆

Director: Daniel Lindsay, T.J. Martin
Stars: Tina Turner
Runtime: 118 minutes
Country: USA

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