What’s Love Got to Do With It (1993)

DailyView: Day 199, Movie 282

Under my thumb
The guy who once had me down
Under my thumb
The guy who once pushed me around
It’s down to me
Yes it is
The way he does what he’s told
Down to me, the change has come
He’s under my thumb

This song was originally from the Rolling Stones, but it fits perfectly with the story that was being told in the classic biopic, What’s Love Got to Do With It, the life story of Tina Turner and her tempestuous and abusive marriage to Ike Turner.

Born Anna Mae Bullock (Angela Bassett), she discovered her love for singing early in life. When she came across Ike Turner (Laurence Fishburne), the two hit it off both musically and romantically. Taking the stage name of Tina Turner, Anna Mae married Ike and became a sensation with him.

However, as the years went on, the abusive side of Ike Turner started to show itself and the ongoing pressures of writing songs and dealing with the record companies only made Ike Turner worse and Anna Mae shouldered the physical burden of the stress.

She attempted to escape the violence with her children, but Ike found her and dragged her back. The scenes of physical abuse were difficult to watch, and the strength that Tina Turner showed in finally breaking away from the violence was inspiring.

Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne were both Oscar nominated for their roles in What’s Love Got to Do With It and it is completely worth it. Both are transcendent performances with both Bassett and Fishburne losing themselves in the roles. These two actors took what could have been a typical biopic and made something special.

The music is great. The film does not dive into the period where Tina Turner struggled to work solo, instead moving along to her amazing success with the song “What’s Love Got to Do With It”, a theme of the 1980s.

Try and watch the powerhouse performances and not be affected. I had to look away a couple of times in disgust as Fishburne was embodying the abusive rocker and Bassett struggled to make it through. The scene between the two of them in the limo was cathartic for the audience as much as it was for Tina.

What’s Love Got to Do With It is a fantastic film with amazing acting. Even if you are not a huge fan of Tina Turner, you can watch this biopic as a survival tale, a story of a woman who found her strength and confidence to get herself out from under the thumb of her violent husband and become even more popular than she ever was with him.

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