1 What’s Love Got To Do With It?
This was an excellent film all about the rise of Tina Turner. It tells about how she was discovered by Ike Turner, who later became her husband. He was an abusive and manipulative, but Tina finally finds the courage to leave him and strike out on her own.
I vaguely remember seeing posters for this film when it came out. I didn’t see it, I was only 8 at the time. Angela Basset and Laurence Fishbourne are simply marvelous together. I was especially impressed with Laurence Fishbourne. I will never again think of him as Morpheus. Angela Basset matches him. I love the scene when she goes, full of determination and desperation in equal measure, to the hotel after being beaten (yet again) by her husband to try to escape. She is so vulnerable and yet full of pride at the same time.
It is a wonderful film, though I do have to include a trigger warning. There are depictions of rape and domestic violence in the film.
The music is also great. I’ve never listened to Tina Turner’s music before, but I enjoyed the musical numbers very much.
2 Crime After Crime
Trigger Warning: Rape, Molestation, and Domestic Violence
I recommend this film as a companion to What’s Love Got To Do With It? This is a documentary that was at the Cleveland International Film Festival, though I actually saw it on DVD. It tells the story of a woman named Deborah Peagler, who suffered horrific abuse at the hand of her partner. He wanted to pimp her out, when she refused, she wound up lying on the floor with him kicking her ribs. He beat her repeatedly, molested their daughter, and threatened her with a gun. She and her mother called the police several times, but each time they sent him home the next day with a slap on the wrist. At last, the local gang members, who were outraged at his behavior (he apparently beat her up in front of the gang members) offered to fix the situation for her. They told her they would beat him up and tell him to leave her alone. She brought them to him, and they killed him.
She was then charged with murder in the first degree, and sentenced to life in prison.
The film details the horrific fight that her two pro bono lawyers had to try to free her. It turns out that there was a tremendous amount of corruption within the southern California legal system who wanted her to stay in jail, because of, well, reasons. Actually, I remember the reason. The prosecutor’s office knowingly suborned perjury during the proceedings, or were preparing to do so. The profound corruption in their office was disheartening, to put it in the mildest terms.
This is a shocking and enraging film about the horrific problems in the US justice system. It makes for difficult, but essential viewing for every American man and woman.
I’m including the link to the film’s website because it also has ways that people can get involved to improve the rights of domestic violence victims.
3 Hannah and Her Sisters
On a lighter note, I present Hannah and her Sisters.
I saw this as a teenager years ago, and then later at Cleveland’s Cinematheque, the alternative art house theater. I would love to claim that I attend this theater constantly, but I’m not cool enough.
My lack of film cred aside, I enjoyed this film even more as an adult. The story of Hannah and her two sisters is hilarious and poignant.
I’m not sure that this film completely meets the first of my criteria (the main character is a woman) because it’s a little muddy who the main character is. However, the film revolves around the three sisters, so I feel justified.
Woody Allen does appear in this film, so be advised. Some people cannot stand him, but I don’t mind him. I appreciate the storyline that his character brings to the film. There is also a wonderful performance by Michael Caine.
Besides, there are few directors who can make films involving adultery and attempted suicide and still make them lighthearted and hilarious.