Nina Trailer (2016)
Trailer for Nina, starring Zoe Saldana and David Oyelowo.
She was one of the century's most extraordinary talents, a 15-time Grammy nominee and Grammy Hall of Fame Recipient; her mesmerizing songs and passionate politics combined to make her the unforgettable Nina Simone (Zoe Saldana). But fame and fortune came with a price, and her later years were riddled with depression, alcohol abuse and isolation. Rediscovering the meaning of her life and work took courage, strength and one true friend: Clifton Henderson (David Oyelowo), the man who started out as her assistant and eventually became her loyal manager. With Clifton's encouragement, the "high priestess of soul" began a courageous journey back to her music ... and, eventually, herself.
Ever since the release of the film's poster -- or some would say Zoe Saldana's casting -- there has been nothing but controversy surrounding the biopic Nina. In short, there are some out there, including Nina Simone's own family, who didn't think that Saldana was black enough. #Seriously
It turns out that Saldana is not African-American, but Puerto Ricon slash Dominican. To some, that mix isn't close enough to the shade some were hoping for. The good news is that it's Hollywood, where there is no shortage of makeup [and prosthetics]. Saldana ended up having to wear some darker foundation -- which has been described as black face by critics -- and a prosthetic nose to pull off the look of Nina. Even with that, people went (unreasonably) crazy at the release of the Nina poster. I guess seeing an actor looking like the person they are portraying is a new experience for some.
The good news is that Zoe Saldana is a fantastic actress, a point that many in their criticism have forgotten.
To be honest, I had no idea who Nina Simone was and had to look up photos of the jazz singer to see what everybody was talking about. Only then did a watch the Nina trailer and was surprised to see that there are shots where Zoe Saldana perfectly captures the singer. Yes, there was maybe a scene or two where you can tell she is wearing a darker foundation, but for the most part she pulls off the look and definitely masters the impersonation.
Now, biopics aren't really my thing, especially when it's yet another one dealing with an artist struggling with drugs and alcohol. Is there such a thing of a biopic about a clean artist? And, with that being said, I couldn't care less about another biopic in this drug-meets-artistry genre. I wish nothing but good things for Zoe Saldana, and the actress does not deserve the overly-hyped criticism. Then again--I won't be racing out to catch Nina in theaters.
2 min 30 sec
March 03, 2016
April 22, 2016
Mary Pat Gleason
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