Nina is an American biographical film written and directed by Cynthia Mort. The film focuses on American musician and civil rights activist Nina Simone, portrayed by Zoe Saldana. The film also stars David Oyelowo, Ella Thomas, and Mike Epps. The film was released on April 22, 2016, in a limited release and through video on demand by RLJ Entertainment. The film has met with heavy criticism from a number of people, and Simone’s estate has declined to endorse the film.
In 1988 Nina Simone is financially unsound, mentally unstable and an alcoholic. Her 1960’s heyday is far behind her. After threatening a lawyer with a gun, she is forcibly committed to a Los Angeles psychiatric hospital for twenty-four hours. While in hospital, Nina hires orderly Clifton Henderson (David Oyelowo) as an assistant. He accompanies her back to Bouc-Bel-Air, France.
Nina drinks heavily and refuses to take her medication. She proves to be difficult and confrontational. She verbally abuses Clifton, assaults a patron at a nightclub performance and makes Clifton get her random men with whom she has one-night stands. Her behavior drives Clifton back home to America.
Nina is told by her doctor that the results of her biopsy are serious and she needs treatment.
Nina arrives unannounced at Clifton’s family home in Chicago, much to the amusement of his family and his embarrassment. She tells him that she wants him to be her manager. He hesitantly agrees to work for her again.
In France, Clifton begins calling for bookings but no one wants to deal with Nina. His efforts eventually pay off and she performs marvelously at a gig. He gets a studio and she begins recording new music. It is implied that they begin a sexual relationship. Worried about her health, he convinces her to undergo surgery for her cancer.
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