Tina Turner has sold over 200 million albums, won eight Grammy Awards and is a true rock star. She is the queen of rock’n’roll after a successful career spanning more than five decades in the music industry. HBO TINA The documentary includes her intimate interview on how she survived an abusive relationship with her husband, Ike Turner, and reinvented herself years later as a chart-topping solo artist.
The pop icon asks directors Daniel Lindsay and TJ Martin how best to place a career coda during his interview. “How to withdraw and go slowly?” She asks the Oscar winning team. Her husband, music producer Erwin Bach, shares his wish to say goodbye to his fans with a hit Broadway documentary and musical about his life that showcases his talent and legacy: “I’m going to America. I’ll say goodbye to my American fans. I’ll wrap up. I am thinking of this documentary and the play. That’s it. It’s a closure.
TiINA a portrait of strength in the face of adversity. Tina met her late ex-husband when she was a naive teenager. She explains her journey since growing up as Anna Mae Bullock in a cotton field in Nutbush Tennessee. The film includes new audio interviews, photos and live performances. Oprah Winfrey and Angela Bassett share their take on the inspirational woman who shaped their lives.
Larry King asked Tina in a 1997 interview about her influence on pop culture after sharing her story. “Do you realize that you are a feminist heroine in America?” She credits her Buddhist faith for giving her the focus and strength to bounce back from the brink of tragedy and sadness.
TINA takes place in chapters and begins with concert footage of the singer commanding the stage. Carl Arrington from People magazine reminds us that he shattered the story that went around the world in 1981. His article, “Tina Turner, the Woman Who Taught Mick Jagger How to Dance,” detailed how Tina was physically and psychologically abused by her husband. She lived and worked as a member of the Ike and Tina Turner Revue until she left. She suffered in silence after 16 years of sexual abuse which included repeated rape, black eyes, broken ribs, bloody lips and brutal beatings with hangers to her partner’s hands.
Tina escaped her marriage after several suicide attempts and a bloody physical battle with Ike in 1976. She told her story years later to journalist Kurt Loder in a bestselling memoir titled me, Tina . We hear his ordeal on domestic violence on cassettes recorded during their meetings to write the book. She describes her misfortune in the film as “living a life of death”. Her comeback story was phenomenal given that she only had her name and pennies in her pocket. Her story was dramatized in the Oscar nominated film What does love have to do with it with Angela Bassett describing her pain on the big screen.
We continue to watch the fight as Tina finds a manager in her comeback chapter and must decide on her first big solo song to solidify her career. The single “What’s Love Got To Do With It” is one of his biggest hits in North America. But I was surprised to learn that it was already recorded as a pop record that she rearranged into her own. Her goal was to be a female rock star like Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones. We see all the paths she took to fulfill her dreams of filling stadiums around the world with millions of her fans.
Tina was inducted into the Rocking Roll Hall of Fame with Ike Turner in 1991. However, I’m baffled that she still doesn’t make the list as a solo artist. I was one of the many fans who tried to get a ticket to the opening night of the Tina Broadway musical show featured in the movie, but it was sold out.
As the documentary continues, we watch her soar the pop charts with a series of hits from the Private dancer album. As we cheer her on as she finds the love of her life, Tina tells the alluring story of how she convinced her future husband to visit her in LA to make love to her. In an interview, she said: “It wasn’t a good life. It was in some areas, but the good didn’t make up for the bad.
Playwright Katori Hall shares her thoughts on the Beautiful Dynamo after being given the task of turning her life into Tina: The Tina Turner Musical.
“There’s a part of her, I guess, that we’ve all claimed, that we’ve all embraced, across the world,” says Angela Bassett. “And I hope she knows that. How she is loved, how she is loved. She is absolutely adored.
USA Today reports that the directors decided to rely on archival material to avoid re-traumatizing her about the past. “By sitting down with her for the documentary, we didn’t want to drag her back into the mire of her past,” Martin says. Although she is a pioneer in speaking out against domestic violence, “Tina is not an activist, it just isn’t her personality type. She literally survived and as a result did all of those heroic deeds for the benefit of her own health that we all admired. And that obviously became the story of Tina Turner.
Tina now lives in Zurich, Switzerland with her husband, where they married in 2013 after living together for 27 years. The singer suffers from serious health problems after having a stroke, bowel cancer and needing a kidney to survive.
TINA is a treat for fans of the musical legend who miss seeing her perform. But she made sure to show us that sometimes it is necessary to shed light on old wounds that will never fully heal. A new generation will discover why Tina Turner is an icon who shines so brightly that our hearts and souls are forever illuminated by her magical dance moves.
TINA premieres on HBO and HBO MAX on March 27.