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Film Review: ‘Nina’ - Variety

Variety: Nina Simone lived many lives in her 70 years on the planet, and for a filmmaker looking to dramatize the iconic singer-pianist’s story on screen, the potential entry points are almost endless. Considering the range of possibilities, and the continuing relevance of Simone’s music in an era of renewed racial tensions, “Nina’s” decision to frame her story through a “Sunset Blvd.”-style narrative is truly a head-scratcher. Focusing on Simone’s late-life relationship with a younger nurse-turned-manager provides a perilously shaky foundation from which to consider her legacy, and that’s just the first of many major miscalculations made by writer-director Cynthia Mort’s long-gestating biopic, which meanders into theaters and VOD this month after years of pitched controversy. Interest in Simone will be evergreen as long as recorded music exists, but arriving just a year after Liz Garbus’ Oscar-nominated doc “What Happened, Miss Simone?,” superior competition and bad buzz should cast an indigo mood over the film’s reception.

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