TINA review: Tina Turner documentary is a celebration of the legendary performer

The two-hour long film is the closure Tina Turner fans needed, says Grace Henry.

TINA documentary

Whether you’re a die hard fan or you’re only familiar with her most popular hits, Tina Turner is a name we all know. With a music career spanning over six decades, the legendary singer is known for her impeccable voice, huge stage presence, and iconic looks.

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She had a phenomenal career, but provoking just as much discussion as her music was her infamous relationship with her first husband, late musician Ike Turner.

Despite her huge success, which saw her earn multiple Grammy Awards,  Tina – real name Anna Mae – struggled to escape this narrative, which is just one of the reasons why you should watch Sky’s new documentary on the star.

In TINA, we’re forced to look beyond this part of Tina Turner’s life and instead look at how she rose beyond it and transformed herself, becoming the icon we know today. In the two-hour long film, the star invites viewers into her life in a way we’ve never been before, opening up about her inner most struggles and most personal moments.

Tina Turner
Tina Turner
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Separated into five parts – ‘Tina and Ike’, ‘Family’, ‘Comeback’, ‘The Story’, and ‘Love’ – the two-hour long film tracks the singer’s life from her very humble beginnings and first heartbreak with her parents, to the toxic relationship with her ex, right up until more recently, where the 81-year-old experienced love in its fullness after so many years.

A huge part of her life, it would be a remiss for the documentary to completely brush over Tina’s relationship with Ike Turner, who she married in 1962. Instead, we’re told their story very candidly, as Tina herself speaks openly and honestly about their romance, which she says started as a “family love” with Ike helping her to get into music, before abuse allegedly took over the relationship.

In one scene, she goes on to talk about the physical abuse she endured during their 16-year marriage, not sparing any graphic details, which is undoubtedly uncomfortable to watch. But that’s the raw beauty of TINA, which reveals each element of the singer’s life so honestly, allowing us to appreciate just how far she’s come.

The film shows how she eventually fought back, after year’s of being mistreated by the man she loved, referencing the well-known limo fight which took place between Tina and Ike in 1976, and eventually led to filing for divorce.

Tina and Ike
Tina and Ike
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As a new fan watching the film, you’d probably be expecting her life to suddenly go on an upward trajectory from here. But for those who are familiar with Tina’s journey, you will already know that her solo career didn’t actually take off until she was in her late forties. Throughout the film, we’re shown how she struggled following the divorce, which she only emerged from with her name, and bills from cancelled shows with Ike.

We learn about how she juggled motherhood with her career, with the star bravely admitting in the documentary that she knew her children needed more of her. We’re also taken very far back into Tina’s past as she talks about her mother leaving her from a young age and how this impacted on her life. In some really heartbreaking scenes, the singer talks about being loveless and not finding herself beautiful.

Extremely emotional, these moments show that despite being a huge star, Tina was battling so many internal demons, but didn’t let it get her down. And despite constantly being reminded of a past she so badly wanted to get away from, Tina remained gracious at all times.

Tina and Erwin
Tina and her husband Erwin
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The documentary highlights how she accepted the hurt she’d experienced, and by doing so, managed to rise up.

Using popular hits such as What’s Love Go To Do With It, Rolling On The River and Help! as their soundtrack, directors Daniel Lindsay and T.J Martin reveal this powerful part of her story, documenting how she moved to England to be noticed as a rockstar when people no longer wanted to work with her in the US because she didn’t fit a particular mould.

TINA is without a doubt a celebration of Tina Turner’s life and how escaped a traumatic relationship, made music of her own, and eventually found love – with her current husband, German music executive Erwin Bach. But it’s also a farewell to fans, as we get a glimpse of her current life in Switzerland with her husband, and see her visit the USA to wrap up her 60-year career and essentially “bow out” now she’s at peace.

In this way, the documentary is almost a “closure” to her fans as her husband puts it, and it’s beautifully done.

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TINA airs 28th March at 9pm on Sky Documentaries and NOW and will be available through altitude.film. Check out what else is on with our TV Guide or visit our dedicated Documentaries hub for more news.