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What's Love Got to Do with It?" , or "Tina" for re-release purposes, is a 1993 Biopic, based on the 1986 autobiography of Tina Turner. The main stars were Angela Bassett, Rae'Ven Larrymore Kelly, and Laurence Fishburne. The film was directed by Brian Gibson, previously known for such films as "Breaking Glass" (1980) and "Poltergeist II: The Other Side " (1986).
The film covers the life of Tina. She's first seen as little Anna Mae Bullock (Kelly), a child born and raised in Tennessee. Then teenage Anna Mae (Bassett) moves in with her mother Zelma Currie-Bullock (Jennifer Lewis) and older sister Alline (Phyllis Yvonne Stickney) in Saint Louis, Missouri. Her sister introduces her to the nightclub scene, where Anna Mae meets musician Ike Turner (Fishburn).
She at first works as Ike's vocalist before becoming his partner "Tina" and then his wife. The film goes on to examine both their music careers and turbulent personal lives through several decades as Ike becomes increasingly unstable and abusive. Eventually she leaves him (they separated in 1976, and the divorce followed in 1978), and goes solo in the music world to great success.
The film features both great renditions of Tina Turner's song and "gut-wrenching scenes of domestic violence". The reviews were mostly positive and the film is still well-regarded. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a positive ranking of 97%. It was a modest box office hit, earning about 39 million dollars in US markets and more than covering its small budget. Fishburne and Bassett were nominated for Oscars as Best Leading Actor and Actress Respectively, but lost.
This film provides examples of:
- Broken Bird: The film features Tina Turner's take on her own tragic backstory.
- Disappeared Dad: He leaves Anna Mae at an early age. His eventual fate is not covered.
- Domestic Abuser: Several scenes depict Ike abusing Tina.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Painfully subverted with some of Ike's abuse on Tina. Played straight after Tina finally snaps and mauls him in a limo, the shot cuts to outside, only hearing a loud pained scream from Ike. We next see them storm out of the car, both pretty bloodied and shaken.
- Groin Attack: In the middle of another beating from Ike, Tina punches him off her. Despite a brief shocked pause, he quickly turns on her again, this time earning a very painful kick in the groin.
- Jerkass: Ike's increasively abusive and envious treatment of Tina in the film borders an out and out Sanity Slippage. Naturally the real life counterpart wasn't too happy about his portrayal.
- Marital Rape License: Ike Turner pulls a Type A as part of spousal abuse pattern.
- Not Afraid of You Anymore: The movie shows Tina's gradual defiance and divorce from Ike, cultimating in a fictional scene in which she cooly brushes off a threat at gunpoint, upon which he finally gives up.
- Parental Abandonment: Both parents abandon Anna Mae for years. Zelda invites a teenaged Anna Mae to move in with her. And makes clear she doesn't want criticism for the abandonment: "Now, don't think you're going to come live in my house and make me feel bad."
- Playing Gertrude: Jennifer Lewis and Shirley Bassett depict a mother-daughter duo. Lewis was 36-years-old at the time, Bassett 35-years-old.