(I) (2016)

Critic Reviews



Based on 19 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
A certain integrity and seriousness of intent gleams through, but Nina is just too big a subject, and talent, to be compressed into such a small package.
Saldana (Avatar, Guardians of the Galaxy) is an accomplished and bankable actress, but she doesn’t look much like Simone. That has led to several complaints, including from the Simone estate.
Even when not fighting with her makeup, Saldana’s Simone rarely feels fully formed.
Village Voice
The filmmakers have denied us their subject's voice and then sunk their lead by adding distancing layers between the audience and her chief instrument, her face. Even the script exhibits little confidence in this Nina's ability to communicate to us what matters.
Nina has been so thoroughly misconceived, on virtually every level, that the only less interesting portrait imaginable would be one that takes place entirely when Nina Simone was in utero.
This Simone film hits all the wrong notes early. What is it trying to say about this enraged, iconic singer? Why does it want to say it? Since screenwriter Cynthia Mort apparently never asked those questions, director Cynthia Mort can't offer any answers.
Saldana delivers her distractingly affected performance with greater conviction than most could muster under these circumstances, but no amount of ferocity can disguise the discrepancy between the 37-year-old actress (33 at the time of filming) and the 62-year-old woman she's playing.
Slant Magazine
The film is committed to the sort of broad strokes that reduce a great artist's life to a spectacle of self-pity.
Onscreen, Nina barely scratches the surface much less draws blood. For the essence of a legend, listen to the real Simone sing "I Put a Spell on You." She sure as hell does. This movie emphatically does not.
Nina, an infuriatingly amateurish picture about the great singer and pianist Nina Simone, is a new low for the musical biopic genre.

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