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Nina Review - AVClub

AVClub: Controversy has plagued the Nina Simone biopic Nina from the moment that its existence was formally announced. Most of the heat has been focused on the decision to cast Zoe Saldana, who’s relatively light-skinned (her parents hail from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic), as the legendary singer, whose appearance was more typically African. Efforts have been made to correct the disparity—Saldana’s skin has been darkened for the movie via makeup, and she wears a prosthetic nose—but the extent to which this constitutes a form of blackface, even though Saldana is herself black, has been vigorously debated. However valid such complaints may be, however, they seem almost comical when weighed against the numerous other bizarre decisions made by writer-director Cynthia Mort in bringing Simone’s life to the screen. Nina has been so thoroughly misconceived, on virtually every level, that the only less interesting portrait imaginable would be one that takes place entirely when Nina Simone was in utero.

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