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Wick's Review

Created Feb 11, 2016 10:19PM PST • Edited Feb 21, 2016 11:59PM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Great 4.0

    Nina Simone’s name and presence had occasionally penetrated my consciousness and always piqued my interest. Happily, this well done documentary finally brought her consequential music and politics alive.

    Dubbed the High Priestess of Soul, she was a unique and uniquely transfixing artist, fusing classical piano with soul singing in a way all her own. She was also a fascinating and troubled personality who became deeply engaged in the roiling politics of the 60s. What Happened, Miss Simone? is admirably forthright in presenting her, warts-and-all, while properly keeping the focus on her transcendent musical talents.

    To my pale, untrained ear, she conveyed the entire African-American experience in every song. Her singing is utterly transfixing, hypnotic even. Plus she made every song her own, as only a few singers have. Simone also wrote many of her songs, though the documentary includes uniquely Nina covers of I Put a Spell On You and Strange Fruit. The High Priestess of Soul, indeed.

    Nina Simone had musicality second to none, her every song was a work of artistic truth. Yet she was a commercial success from the go, becoming a global star with a face made for radio & a voice for the ages.

    Nina was the soul of the counter-culture. She encouraged insurrection, yet hypocritically loved luxury.

    What Happened, Miss Simone? presents a woman in full, who loomed large in her day and amazes now.

    Liz Garbus & Netflix deserve major props for creating this good and great documentary. I loves you, Nina!

  3. Perfect 5.0

    Nina Simone was singularly gifted, as pianist and then as singer.
    She was also bipolar, with the movie showing her sexually convulsed.

    • Lisa Simone Kelly, Executive Producer of the film, her daughter and the artist known as Simone.
    • Al Schackman, her guitarist
    • Malcolm X’s daughters Attallah & Ilyasah Shabazz. Add Nina for the Kardashians of the day.
  4. Male Stars Perfect 5.0
  5. Female Stars Perfect 5.0
  6. Female Costars Perfect 5.0
  7. Male Costars Perfect 5.0
  8. Great 4.0

    Liz Garbus & Lisa Simone Kelly, Nina’s daughter, deserves major thanks for birthing this great film.

  9. Direction Great 4.0
  10. Play Great 4.0
  11. Music Great 4.0
  12. Visuals Great 4.0
  13. Content
  14. Risqué 2.2
  15. Sex Titillating 1.9
  16. Violence Fierce 2.0
  17. Rudeness Profane 2.6
  18. Natural 1.0

    “Freedom is the absence of fear” declares Nina Simone, yet her politics veered way left. Misguided.

  19. Circumstantial Natural 1.0
  20. Biological Natural 1.0
  21. Physical Natural 1.0

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