Newest Review: ... beating Tina up when she won't do exactly as he wishes. Tina occasionally tries to stand her ground, but Ike's anger always gets the bet... more
A tough story about a tough lady!
What's Love Got to Do with It (DVD)
Member Name: GentleGenius
What's Love Got to Do with It (DVD)
Advantages: Very well-acted, good music, powerful, moving in parts
Disadvantages: Nothing major
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 117 mins
DIRECTOR: Brian Gibson
PRODUCERS: Doug Chapin & Barry Krost
SCREENPLAY: Kate Lanier
MUSIC: Incidental music by Stanley Clark. The film also includes music from various people such as Ike & Tina Turner, Paul Jones, Big Joe Turner and others.
Angela Bassett as Anna Mae Bullock (Tina Turner)
Laurence Fishburne as Ike Turner
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Based on Tina Turner's autobiography, "I, Tina" which she co-wrote with Kurt Loder, What's Love Got To Do With It begins with Tina (Anna Mae Bullock being her real name) as a little girl living in Tennessee where she didn't have a too happy childhood, eventually being bundled off to live with her grandmother. After her grandmother dies, Tina returns to live with her mother and sister....receiving mixed blessings from her mother.
At a local soul club, Tina becomes very drawn to Ike, a young singer and musician fronting the resident band. Ike encourages Tina to sing, and invites her to join forces with him immediately. Before long, they marry.
Initially, Tina is besotted with Ike, following his every word and command, going out of her way to keep him happy. Ike is a very talented, but volatile, demanding, controlling and manipulative man, whose chief goal in life is fame and the money that goes with it.
After he and Tina follow a successful musical career together, Ike's behaviour deteriorates when he begins using drugs. Things get worse when Phil Spector wants Tina to make a record with him and after Ike throws a tantrum, the song is released as being credited to both Tina and Ike together.
Life doesn't get any easier. Ike is a seasoned coke-snorter, self-admiring, violent, abusive, regularly beating Tina up when she won't do exactly as he wishes. Tina occasionally tries to stand her ground, but Ike's anger always gets the better of her - plus, she often pours oil on troubled waters as Ike's violent outbursts are affecting their children very badly.
To find out how Tina manages to eventually take control of her own life and follow a successful solo career, you must see the film for yourself.
I first watched What's Love Got To Do With It when it was newly released, and although I thought it was good, there was something missing from it. However, I liked it much more when I saw it again recently, yet I can't quite put my finger on why it was better for me second time around.
Right from when Tina first met Ike, and looking at what happened from the eyes of a fly on the wall, the signs are there at the outset. Ike can be very charming and come across as a caring individual, but the gradually worsening quirks in his personality are immediately apparent. However, the young Tina was a girl in love, and love is usually blind. By the time Tina was entrenched in both a personal and a professional relationship with Ike, his vice-like grip on her was almost impossible to break free from.
The film for me raises a few little questions. Would Ike have treated Tina more kindly if the adoration from fans hadn't put her in a stronger limelight than himself? Would Ike have been less volatile if he'd have stayed off the drugs? Would Tina have found fame at all without Ike's influence? I honestly don't think the answer to any of those questions would be "yes". Perhaps the situation and the drug use served to fuel Ike's intolerable behaviour, but I am a great believer in that nothing can be stimulated out of us that isn't already there....even if it does lie dormant until triggered. I feel that Tina's life with Ike, no matter whether they had been famous or not, would have been a difficult one as he was basically an out of control man. As for the question about whether Tina would have found fame without Ike, who knows? I'd guess that nobody, even Tina herself, could speculate on that one and give an accurate answer.
The acting from both main characters is superb, although it was obvious that Angela Bassett was miming - that's to be expected though, because the real Tina Turner was too old to play her younger self at the time the film was made and released. However, Bassett delivered a good, powerful and convincing performance. My favourite though is Laurence Fishburne's outstanding portrayal of the occasionally charming, but mostly loathsome, bullying Ike Turner. Fishburne was 100% convincing in the role, to the point where I feel he deserved some kind of shiny acting award - yes, even an Oscar.
The score to the film and incidental music is very good, particularly during the first half or so. The later part of the What's Love Got To Do With It is more orientated towards Tina Turner's solo career, and such music from then doesn't quite hit my spot, but I love all the traditional R&B which is the backdrop to the part of the film set in the very late 1950s and throughout the 1960s. There is a huge nostalgic value, but it may not appeal to people who aren't fans of middle period R&B.
I guess it's possible that some people who have been or who are in a violent relationship could find What's Love Got To Do With It extremely difficult to watch, as the wife-beating (and at one point rape) scenes are very credible, well put together and well-acted. Another thing which hammers home pretty hard is how the injured party's spirits can be almost totally defeated by a brutal spouse/partner. One part of me wants to yell at the screen "For God's sake woman...get OUT and STAY OUT...." yet the other part of me realises that men of Ike Turner's type have a talent for making their women feel as if all the abuse and violence is their fault, turning on the charm and persuading her back with empty promises and declarations of intending to change. In Tina's case, the 'worm' eventually turned, which may serve to offer a ray of hope to other women going through the same thing....and men too, as it shouldn't be assumed that men alone are the sole perpetrators of domestic violence and abuse.
It is said in Wikipedia's article on What's Love Got To Do With It, that it is only very loosely based on Tina Turner's actual autobiography, and that certain scenes were altered in order to create more of a watchable storyline. I am not doubting the author of the Wikipedia article, but because I've not read Tina's autobiography, I'm unable to comment on any discrepancies or otherwise within the film as far as sticking to the facts is concerned.
In summary, What's Love Got To Do With It is a pretty powerful and emotive film, which some viewers may find upsetting. It's very well-acted, well-presented and contains surprisingly little slush-bucket sentimentality...which in my eyes, can only be a good thing. The music is great too!
At the time of writing, What's Love Got To Do With It can be purchased on Amazon as follows:-
New: from £3.25 to £39.99
Used: from £2.99 to £19.99
A delivery charge of £1.26 should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
Summary: One woman's fight to break free