Cynthia Mort (2016)

15 Certificate


Our Score
This biopic focuses on the wilderness years of singer Nina Simone, particularly her relationship with assistant-turned-manager Clifton Henderson, as he tries to reignite her career. Simone's life makes for a fascinating subject, as proven by 2015's incredible documentary What Happened, Miss Simone? However, Nina contains none of the fire of the legendary performer, contenting itself with a muddled story about a tortured artist facing her demons. Zoe Saldana puts a lot into her performance, but possesses little of the charisma that makes her character worthy of portrayal. From her voice to her distracting make-up (Saldana's skin was controversially darkened for the part), the actor is simply miscast. Meanwhile, co-star David Oyelowo is hamstrung by a script that restricts him to reactions, as he tries to steer Simone back to prominence. The worst sin a biopic can commit is to underestimate its subject, something Nina does over and over throughout this uninspiring drama. Those seeking the authentic story should look elsewhere.


Troubled soul icon Nina Simone rediscovers the meaning of her life and work thanks to the support of loyal friend and assistant Clifton Henderson. Music biopic, starring Zoe Saldana, David Oyelowo and Mike Epps.

Cast & Crew

Nina Simone Zoë Saldana
Clifton Henderson David Oyelowo
Gilles Kevin Mambo
Henri Edwards Ronald Guttman
Nina's husband Chuma Gault
Richard Pryor Mike Epps
Director Cynthia Mort
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Other Information

Language: English / FrenchColourTheatrical distributor: Entertainment OneReleased on: 28 Nov 2014