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'What Happened, Miss Simone?': EW review

Posted on

Netflix

What Happened, Miss Simone?

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
mpaa:
Unrated
runtime:
102 minutes
Limited Release Date:
06/24/15
director:
Liz Garbus
genre:
Documentary

We gave it an A-

No medium could ever quite contain the multitudes of Ms. Nina Simone, the brilliant, volatile, and blazingly gifted singer and civil rights activist. Liz Garbus’ documentary is no exception, but it does offer an excellently clear-eyed primer on the woman whose talent carried her from an impoverished childhood in Tryon, N.C., to the world’s most rarefied stages—and whose political defiance nearly ended her career. Talking heads, including her only child, her ex-husband, and her musical director, provide insight into the personal dramas that propelled Simone’s life off stage (she was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder). But nothing can compete with the late star’s own freewheeling interviews and electric performance clips. As one friend aptly puts it, “Nina was not at odds with the times. The times were at odds with her…. Most people are afraid to be as honest as she lived.” A–