Family movie night? There's an app for that
Download our new mobile app on iOS and Android.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
A new beginning is there for those who want to claim it; also, greatness isn't diminished by human frailty.
Positive Role Models
Nina, though greatly impacted by addiction and a deep melancholy, yearns for self-expression. Clifton cares for Nina and wants to celebrate her.
Violence & Scariness
Nina points a gun at a man; later, she attacks a police officer and, in a separate incident involving a knife, an audience member. She screams and cusses people out. Discussion about how she has been hit by the men in her life.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing and blatant propositioning. A woman is seen lounging with someone else in bed; when she stands up, her bare backside is briefly seen.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Frequent strong language includes everything from "f--k" (and variations thereof) to "damn" and "a--hole."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Products/brands include Air France, Steinway.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Simone is portrayed as an addict who drank constantly. She almost needed medication to stabilize her mental illness.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Nina is a biographical movie about the life of monumental singer-songwriter-musician Nina Simone (Zoe Saldana). It explores her life when she was at her lowest depths -- often drunk, combative, and unable to connect except through music. This makes for a sometimes-intense biopic that includes plenty of lows juxtaposed against highs, including loud fights with both verbal and physical attacks. There's also strong language ("f--k" and more), many scenes of drunkenness, kissing, a woman's bare backside, and incidents involving guns and knives. The movie has drawn some controversy due to the fact that Saldana used prosthetics and skin-darkening make-up to look more like Simone. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Biopics have the imposing task of portraying the truth of a life while making sure the audience is fully immersed in the experience; this one has some high points but fails in this mission. Though Zaldana puts in an heroic effort at bringing the late, great, complicated Simone to life, the emphasis is on the "effort." NINA feels labored and self-conscious, as well as superficial. We see Nina the combative, Nina the lush, Nina the difficult, and, yes, Nina the great musician and singer and songwriter --- but these personas aren't connected by a distinct arc that would have made for a textured, multi-dimensional whole. And while Oyelowo is clearly talented, his Clifton is all Cliff's Notes -- no nuance.
And a word about the blackface controversy, which erupted when early footage of the movie was released and Saldana was shown wearing makeup and a prosthetic to look more like Simone: It's not only tone-deaf, it's distracting, doing harm to a movie already beleaguered by other issues. All of that said, there's no mistaking the power of the music, and it's here, albeit perhaps not as compelling with Saldana singing. Nina Simone was a wonder who can't be matched.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.