Nina teaches us an important lesson about waiting for a film to come out before criticizing it. For it is only then that we can know how truly heinous it is.
At its best, Nina is cosplay karaoke, with Saldana in front of a cinematic jukebox belting her favorite artist’s tunes. At its worst, it’s an insult.
The writing is so generic, the scenes so haphazardly smushed together, the direction so baldly functional that “Nina” seldom reads like a biopic about Nina Simone being revitalized by a new friendship so much as it does like a movie about two people playing fucked up power games in a nice house on the riviera.
However, there is no other way to put it: this is one of the worst musical biopics you will ever see in theaters. At least the Aaliyah biopic was regulated to Lifetime.
Yes, Nina is as bad as you imagined.
Zoe Saldana looks more like an X-Men character than the High Priestess of Soul
But then, this abysmal piece of shit deserves everything that’s coming to it and more. Not only does Nina reproduce the colorism Simone suffered (and spoke out against) during her lifetime through the casting of Saldana, but also inverts the abusive relationship with her husband Andrew Stroud, and casts the lasting psychic scars from their time together as quirky diva behavior to be smirked at.
I hate to say it, but the film was as painful as a UTI. As torturous as getting a tooth pulled. Perhaps even as bad as sitting through a Donald Trump rally. It was bad, y’all. The disjointed Cynthia Mort film is proof of Hollywood’s blindness to its own White privilege. It was the most watered-down, White-friendly version of Nina I’ve ever seen.