A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this adult movie about an iconic musical star and her abusive husband-partner is violent, sexual, and filled with obscenities, alcohol, and drug-induced behavior. A husband graphically terrorizes and brutalizes his pliant, forgiving wife in many scenes (including an extended rape sequence). The bloody aftermaths pile up until she attempts suicide and then even beyond that. Characters drink, smoke, use cocaine, and swear (continuous use of "f--k," in many forms, as well as some racial slurs and other coarse language). There is also consensual sexual behavior, with a long passionate love scene between the two leads which includes implied intercourse and some partial male nudity. The musical performances are faithful to the Tina Turner imprint, with lots of sexy clothing and exuberantly sensual dancing.
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What's the story?
Naive and damaged by her mother's abandonment, the enormously talented Anna Mae Bullock, still in her teens, meets Ike Turner, a slick, manipulative local rock star in St. Louis. He takes control of her unusual voice, exuberant style, and incredible energy and turns her into Tina Turner, a rising international star with "The Ike and Tina Turner Revue." But trouble, in the form of Ike's volatile personality and increasing substance abuse, nearly costs Tina her sanity, her safety, and finally, her life.
Is it any good?
This movie is fueled by dazzling performances from both Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne. What's more, it's shot by director Brian Gibson with extraordinary faithfulness to the style and substance of Tina Turner's greatest hits and stage moments (both with her husband and on her own). This is a two-hour journey from the lowest lows -- many graphically brutal scenes with the unrepentant Svengali that was Ike Turner -- to the highest highs -- the fantastic Bassett re-creating Tina's iconic performances with her own astonishing versatility. The voice is always original Tina, but Fishburne's rendition of the Ike Turner sound is more than credible. The soaring talent nearly destroyed by adversity and victimhood is a familiar story, but when combined with the unique sound, style and persona that is Tina Turner, and the commitment of the two stars, it's a thoroughly engrossing film.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the harm caused in family relationships by drug and alcohol abuse. Do you think movies like this glamorize the behavior or act as cautionary tales?
Tina Turner was the victim of horrendous spousal abuse. Incidents of teen relationship abuse are known to exist as well. What resources are available in your school or community for these victims?
Musical biographical films often have a number of issues in common (i.e. alcohol, drugs, unstable relationships). What do you think might contribute to the behavior in that very special world?
- In theaters: June 9, 1993
- On DVD or streaming: August 24, 1999
- Cast: Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Vanessa Bell Calloway
- Director: Brian Gibson
- Studio: Touchstone Pictures
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 118 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: domestic violence, strong language, drug use and some sensuality
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.