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Glasgow Film Festival 2021: TINA (2021)



Before seeing the documentary, I did not know much about Tina Turner except for her music. TINA dives into the life of the amazing artist on her own terms. The documentary is driven by Tina Turner herself. Of course, there are some interviews with people who have worked with her or with her children but mainly you get to hear her story in her own words and from her perspective.


It does not offer a glossy version but portrays her as she sees herself. The authenticity is felt even when watching it on a computer screen. I love how she talks about getting her name back as she divorces Ike Turner. Although he chose it for her, she does not let herself be defined by that and makes it fully hers. She leaves him most of her fortune, her songs and walks away broke with only her name left. She lost everything but regained her freedom which in a way what she needed the most. She will earn the money back, write other songs, be at the top once again but without being free, she might have not been there to talk to us about that.

© Rob Verhorst/Redferns

She touches on interesting subjects like how everybody wanted her to only talk about her abusive relationship after she went public. There are extracts of her going public about domestic violence. She goes into every detail you could possibly imagine. Although it is very hard to watch, it makes it clear she did not hide anything from the interviewer or the public. She was extremely honest but even after that, the world wanted to pin her down as a victim and nothing else. She wrote a book about it to put it behind her but the questions did not stop. Here, she is a victim of sexism in a society that can not reconcile a strong woman with experience as a victim of abuse. Her ability to get out of the situation and talking about it should have been seen as a proof of strength but in our world women are still seen as one-dimensional fragile creatures. But she does not let society define her as a victim. She kept making music and making history. And now, she is telling her own story and defining what is worth focusing on. I found it very bold to show the kids talking about how life was like and how they felt their parents had failed them when they went on tour. I found it very interesting because when they talk about it, they mention both parents and not just their mum. I appreciate that her career and dreams did not stop when she had kids. She was a mum but also an amazing woman and a brilliant artist. By capturing so many sides of her life, it shows how complex she is. She is not perfect and seeing her flaws only makes you appreciate her more.


TINA is her way to reclaim her story and drive the narrative. It is empowering and profoundly feminist. As a woman, I felt inspired by this larger-than-life story. We need more women telling their own stories on their own terms. TINA is a great step in the right direction.

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