Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

What's Love Got to Do With It

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As a truthful account of the life of Tina Turner or as a faithful adaptation of her as-told-to autobiography I, Tina, this can't be taken too seriously. But as a powerhouse showcase for the acting talents of Angela Bassett (who plays Tina Turner) and Larry Fishburne (who plays her abusive husband Ike Turner, the musician who discovered her) and as a potent portrayal of both wife beating and the emotions that surround it (in this case, professional envy on his part and stoic acceptance of abuse on hers), it's quite a show. As with the even sillier Lady Sings the Blues two decades ago (Diana Ross's ridiculous depiction of Billie Holiday), which harked back to a still earlier model of musical biopic, show-biz instincts tend to triumph here as common sense and fidelity to fact disintegrate, though the handling of place and period is slightly better than what one usually finds in such enterprises, and the slant of a woman screenwriter (Kate Lanier) is also highly welcome. Directed by Brian Gibson; with Vanessa Bell Calloway, Jenifer Lewis, Phyllis Yvonne Stickney, and Khandi Alexander. Old Orchard, Ford City, Chestnut Station.

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