Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Rae'Ven Larrymore Kelly, Cora Lee Day, Khandi Alexander, Jenifer Lewis, Phyllis Yvonne Stickney, Penny Johnson Jerald, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Chi McBride, Sherman Augustus, Terrence Riggins, Bo Kane, Terrence Evans, Rob LaBelle, James Reyne, Richard T. Jones, Shavar Ross, Damon Hines, Suli McCullough, Elijah B. Saleem
Written by: Kate Lanier, based on a biography by Tina Turner, Kurt Loder
Directed by: Brian Gibson
MPAA Rating: R for domestic violence, strong language, drug use and some sexuality
Running Time: 118
Date: 06/25/1993
IMDB

What's Love Got to Do with It (1993)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Better Be Good to Her

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

What's most amazing about the Tina Turner story is that it has a natural arc built into it, with a perfect ending, and this energetic, powerful movie makes the most of it. What's Love Got to Do with It revolves around two great, Oscar-nominated performances by Laurence Fishburne as Ike Turner, and Angela Bassett as Tina, born Anna Mae Bullock. Ike is first seen performing the awesome "Rocket 88" (though in real life he did not sing the song) at a club where he likes to "audition" women singers in the audience. Tina takes a turn, and... bam! Ike begins grooming her for stardom, and makes her his wife as well. They're a hit — one of the best scenes shows the recording of the expensive, layered Phil Spector-produced masterpiece "River Deep - Mountain High" — but Ike has a mean and abusive side. Fishburne is ferocious, often appearing like a wraith out of a horror film to bring Tina more trouble. Tina's escape is not depicted as a moment of triumph, but rather a clambering out of hell, and it's a brilliantly performed scene. The finale, with the familiar, cool tones of the title track coming in, is applause-worthy. Even when the real Tina appears at the end, she doesn't eclipse Bassett's extraordinary work (the real Tina did the singing, though).

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