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What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Biography, Music | 24 June 2015 (USA)
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2:19 | Trailer
A documentary about the life and legend Nina Simone, an American singer, pianist, and civil rights activist labeled the "High Priestess of Soul."

Director:

Liz Garbus
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Nina Simone ... Herself (archive footage)
Lisa Simone Kelly Lisa Simone Kelly ... Herself
Roger Nupie Roger Nupie ... Himself
Al Schackman Al Schackman ... Himself
George Wein George Wein ... Himself
Stanley Crouch ... Himself
Andrew Stroud Andrew Stroud ... Himself (archive footage)
Dick Gregory ... Himself
Ilyasah Shabazz Ilyasah Shabazz ... Herself
Attallah Shabazz Attallah Shabazz ... Herself (as Ambassador Shabazz)
Gerrit De Bruin Gerrit De Bruin ... Himself
Eleanor Belinfanti Eleanor Belinfanti ... Cast
Gregory Marlow Gregory Marlow ... Cast
Elisabeth Henry-Macari Elisabeth Henry-Macari ... Cast: Mrs Mazzanovich (as Elizabeth Henry)
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Storyline

On stage Nina Simone was known for her utterly free, uninhibited musical expression, which enthralled audiences and attracted life-long fans. But amid the violent, haunting, and senseless day-to-day of the civil rights era in 1960s America, Simone struggled to reconcile her artistic identity and ambition with her devotion to a movement. Culled from hours of autobiographical tapes, this new film unveils the unmitigated ego of a brilliant artist and the absurdities of her time. At the height of her fame Simone walked away from her family, country, career and fans, to move to Liberia and give up performing. The story of her life leading up to that event poses the question, 'how does royalty stomp around in the mud and still walk with grace?'

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Her Story. Her Voice.


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

24 June 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Untitled Nina Simone Film See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The fourteenth Netflix original documentary. See more »

Quotes

Nina Simone: We will shape and mold this country or it will not be molded and shaped at all anymore. So I think we don't have a choice. How can you be an artist and not reflect the times?
See more »

Connections

Featured in Close Up with the Hollywood Reporter: Documentary (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

To Be Young, Gifted and Black
Written by Nina Simone and Weldon Irvine (as Weldon J. Irvine, Jr.)
Published by EMI Grove Music, Inc./BMI
Performed by Nina Simone, Courtesy of RCA Records
Courtesy of Steven Ames Brown, by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Reminder That the Civil Rights Movement Is Not a Thing of the Past
9 March 2016 | by evanston_dadSee all my reviews

Two of the 2015 Academy Award nominees for Best Documentary Feature dealt with artists (specifically singers) who were ultimately undone by their self-destructive tendencies. "Amy" told the sad story of Amy Winehouse, whose struggles with addiction and eating disorders cut her life and career tragically short. "What Happened, Miss Simone?" is about Nina Simone, who used her music to fuel the anger of the civil rights movement until her flame burnt out. Both women changed the nature of their art form; both women were taken from the world much too soon.

But for all the similarities, the stories of the two women are quite different. Amy Winehouse is a pathetic figure. We watch as she passively lets fame destroy her. Nina Simone, on the other hand, is full of rage, rage that vents itself through her music. If Winehouse lets strife happen to her, we get the sense that Simone brings it on herself. It's as if she can't handle the anger that a sense of injustice toward the world stokes inside her and destroys herself as a way to be rid of it.

Watching Simone sing "Mississippi Goddamn" while seeing images of the Civil Rights movement, images evocative of the recent violence toward blacks perpetrated by law enforcement officials throughout the country, brought home to me how far we still need to go in our efforts toward racial equality and why the slogan "Black Lives Matter" should be heeded by all.

Grade: A-


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