What Happened, Miss Simone?

2015

Biography / Documentary / Music

16
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 85%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 87%
IMDb Rating 7.6 10 7805

Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
Downloaded 101 times
September 03, 2016 at 09:57 PM

Director

Cast

Hugh M. Hefner as Himself
Walter Cronkite as Himself
720p 1080p
752.46 MB
1280*720
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 41 min
P/S 3 / 16
1.55 GB
1920*1080
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 41 min
P/S 2 / 21

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by themadmovieman 7 / 10

Engrossing, passionate and powerful documentary of an incredible life

This is a very powerful and passionate documentary that tells the life of the legendary Nina Simone in great fashion. With a brilliant collection of stock footage that not only looks at Simone as a music icon but also a hugely significant civil rights activist and a person, this is a fascinating and engrossing documentary.

Going into this, I knew next to nothing about Nina Simone. The Civil Rights Movement has always been fascinating to me, but the musicians involved, I didn't think much.

However, this documentary makes all of that even more enthralling to learn about, and extremely accessible to non-experts. If you haven't ever heard of Nina Simone, you can easily go into this film and be engrossed by the entire story.

In terms of the way that this film tells the whole story, it's very impressive. Structurally, it's a bit of a by-the-books documentary, but if you get deeper into it, you discover that it's a very passionate and fitting tribute to Simone's life.

The first period of the film details her rise to fame in the jazz world in the 1950s from her lowly beginnings in a southern town, and shows you all sorts of fascinating clips from her childhood that show what a struggle her journey was, and from her earliest performances that gave birth to a genius in the music industry.

With interviews from both herself and her closest friends and family, you also get an extremely personal look into this story. For all of the hype surrounding her musical talent, there's still a very touching smaller story about Simone as a person. Ultimately, it's a sad story that she suffered so much from personal demons and domestic issues, however this film really allows you to empathise with a person that was, at her time, so aggressive and loud.

That's where the story about her as a civil rights activist comes in. This film thinks very highly of her role in the entire movement, rightly placing her amidst historical titans like Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael. It talks about how she brought attention to the movement to a different crowd, and in a different way, and despite her disagreements with King's non-violent protest tactics and her support for a more aggressive approach, her importance cannot be understated.

Overall, this is a great documentary, that not only gives you an accessible historical insight into the life of this incredible personality, but one that will both entertain and fully engross you.

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Reviewed by Blake Peterson 6 / 10

An Engaging Documentary About Soul's National Treasure

Nina Simone is a national treasure. Don't lump her together with the Arethas, the Donnas, the Esthers; she was a soul singer of tremendous originality and personality. She didn't have to enthusiastically remind a man to r-e-s-p-e-c-t her, to rely on anybody besides herself to let her potent baritone shake the bodies of the public — whether a song she shared with the world was written by a pop professional or her and herself alone, Simone's voice never allowed, and still doesn't allow, for casual listening. You want to jump up and find a pair of expensive soundproof headphones just so you can absorb the stealth of her voice and her Baby Grand. Nothing can compare.

"What Happened, Miss Simone?", directed by documentarian Liz Garbus, captures everything most adored about Simone and the things that made her a particularly flawed human. There are plenty of moments left for us to sit back and let chills creep up our arm through astonishing concert footage, but there are also moments that let it be known that Simone, though a national treasure, was a woman continuously suffering with inner demons left untouched throughout most of her career.

New aspects of her complicated life are brought to us through several interviews, mostly with her daughter (who drops a bomb by informing us that after the dissolution of Simone's marriage to her father did she become an abusive wrecking ball). The film goes all the way back to Simone's lonely childhood, in which she dedicated most of her time to her demanding classical piano career, to her final years as a performer. What happened in- between is much more compelling than I ever expected; I knew that Simone began as a crooner in the diva category, eventually turning her attention to Civil Rights (as evidenced by remarkable songs such as "Mississippi Goddam" and "Strange Fruit"), but I didn't realize how much she suffered in her life. She was an undiagnosed manic depressive for the majority of her career. Her husband/manager hit her on a regular basis. She almost faded into homelessness after her mental disorders completely took over in the 1970s.

"What Happened, Miss Simone" is such a good documentary because it as much idolizes Simone as it does sees her at a ground level; some documentaries view their subject as a star, never slowing down to cover the details that might make them look bad. But Garbus' knack for balancing wonder with sorrow (highs and lows are at the most shattering during Simone's performance at the 1976 Montreux Jazz Festival and her daughter's admission that she was suicidal because of Simone's abuse as a teenager) is supreme, making for a well-rounded doc both informational and unglamorous. It represents Simone for who she really was, and though I would prefer a potential feature length, perhaps focusing on a particularly harrowing point in her life, "What Happened, Miss Simone" goes over everything we could ever want to know about Simone. There's just a feeling of unplaceable skimpiness, as though Garbus wanted to make an on screen biography, paying more attention to some things than others. But I can hardly complain — I liked Simone then, and I like her even more now. Presently, however, I feel like I understand her. No longer can I listen to my favorite Simone LP, "Pastel Blues", in the same way.

Reviewed by planktonrules 9 / 10

Whether or not you've heard of Miss Simone, you really should give this film a try.

I've got to be up front about this...I don't remember hearing anything about Nina Simone before I watched this film. While she was a very famous jazz performer, her meteoric career all but fizzled by the time I was a very young child. I also am not a particular fan of modern jazz, either. So in some ways, I am not the ideal audience for this wonderful new documentary from Liz Garbus. However, because of my work in the mental health field, the film really resonated with me and I think you should give it a look as well. Apparently, Netflix ALSO thinks you should be watching it, as they send out a mass emailing to many people recommending you see this new film--which you now can thanks to their streaming service.

Nina was a child prodigy at the piano. However this was back in the 1930s...and she was a tiny black girl growing up in the South. Yet despite the racially charged climate, she had a spark of genius-- such that despite the times, she was helped by people to help realize her dream of being a musician. However, instead of the concert classical pianist she was trained to be, she sort of accidentally fell into the jazz industry and was soon known at least as much as her singing as her genius at the piano. This led to a lot of financial success in the 1950s and into the 60s and life was looking grand for this lady.

So how, then, at the height of her fame did Simone's career start to slip? And why did she walk away from this life? This confusing journey about mental illness, to me, is the most interesting part of this documentary. While it's not perfect (a lot of her more bizarre behaviors later in life are omitted from the story as well as her second marriage), the film is extremely rare in quality and is extremely well made. Considering that Simone died from cancer over a decade ago, this should have been a very tough film to make. Yet, fortunately, they had recordings and diaries of Simone speaking her mind and explaining her strange journey through life. Garbus also was fortunate to have Simone's daughter's cooperation as well as her first husband and friends--giving you amazing access into Simone's world as well as into her mental illness that impacted but never destroyed her career. This sort of access alone is more than enough reason to see this film.

By the way, if you like this film, also trying watching another great Garbus documentary, Bobby Fischer Against the World. The character in this film is, in many ways, much like Simone--with lots of brilliance as well as lots of personal demons.

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