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Rated NR · 110 minutes · 2015

Documentary
The Amazing Nina Simone, the second documentary about the great American pianist, composer and singer, is more reverential but also more rounded than What Happened, Miss Simone?, which Netflix released earlier this year. Directed by Jeff L. Lieberman, Amazing spends a good part of its running time describing the discovery and development of Nina Simone's genius. As a girl, she took to the piano in much the same way a duckling takes to water. And her brilliance was so considerable that even the educated whites of her sleepy and segregated North Carolina town could not miss it. She received training in classical piano from a teacher who placed Bach at the center of her musical universe. Simone was not supposed to be a pop or jazz musician but one of the top classical pianists of her age. This was her ambition and also the real root of her snobbery. But, Amazing also mentions something that is completely absent from Miss Simone—her bisexuality. And so, we have on one side a classically trained woman who is very black (natural hair, full lips, dark skin), sexually open, and pro–Black power, and on the other side a society that's rigidly patriarchal and racist. Few humans could survive these kinds of extremes without frequently suffering from mental disorders or collapses. And this, at the end of the day, is the point that is made by Amazing (110 min.).
Director: Jeff Lieberman
Producer: Jeff Lieberman

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