Watch It

On DVD: Now | On Blu-ray: TBD

What's Love Got to Do with It? Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 17+

Powerful bio of Tina Turner with domestic violence, drugs.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this adult movie about an iconic musical star and her abusive husband-partner is violent, sexual, and filled with obscenities, alcohol, and drug-induced behavior. A husband graphically terrorizes and brutalizes his pliant, forgiving wife in many scenes (including an extended rape sequence). The bloody aftermaths pile up until she attempts suicide and then even beyond that. Characters drink, smoke, use cocaine, and swear (continuous use of "f--k," in many forms, as well as some racial slurs and other coarse language). There is also consensual sexual behavior, with a long passionate love scene between the two leads which includes implied intercourse and some partial male nudity. The musical performances are faithful to the Tina Turner imprint, with lots of sexy clothing and exuberantly sensual dancing.

  • Families can talk about the harm caused in family relationships by drug and alcohol abuse. Do you think movies like this glamorize the behavior or act as cautionary tales?
  • Tina Turner was the victim of horrendous spousal abuse. Incidents of teen relationship abuse are known to exist as well. What resources are available in your school or community for these victims?
  • Musical biographical films often have a number of issues in common (i.e. alcohol, drugs, unstable relationships). What do you think might contribute to the behavior in that very special world?

The good stuff
  • message true4

    Messages: Despite plenty of destructive behavior, the ultimate message of the film is strongly positive: Women must protect themselves and their children from abusive spousal behavior. It takes great courage and perserverance to get out of a complicated interdependent relationship, but the end result is positive and life-affirming. The Buddhist precept, "If you look in life's mirror and see yourself clearly, you can change anything," is a mantra used repeatedly to great advantage.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: Tina Turner is initially seen as naive, dependent, and easily taken advantage of. Over the course of the film, she learns self-determination, wisdom, and acquires great courage and faith. There are no main male characters seen in a positive light. Ike Turner and his cronies are self-promoting, insensitive, disloyal, sex-obsessed and misogynistic. Ike, himself, is a consistent heel, never able to conquer the demons that make him violent, cruel, and self-destructive.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: Several disturbing scenes of domestic violence including fierce open-handed slaps, beating with fists and a shoe, dragging, brandishing a gun, hair pulling, and choking. In all instances, results of the beatings are clearly visible: blood, swelling, abrasions, etc. In one extended terrifying scene using head shots only, Tina Turner is raped by her husband. A young woman threatens a character with a loaded gun, then moves into a bathroom from which gunshots are heard. The self-inflicted injuries do not result in death.

  • sex false3

    Sex: One prolonged love-making scene with passionate kissing, embracing, and implied full sexual intercourse. Kissing, embracing, and sensual behavior among many characters in other scenes as well. The movie vividly details Tina Turner's trademark performance persona: short, sexy clothing and lots of sensual movement and dancing.

  • language false5

    Language: Frequent use of coarse, sexual language, usually uttered in anger and with the intent to insult and degrade. Many forms of "f--k," including "motherf--k," "s--t," "ass," "Goddamn," and numerous instances of racial slurs, including the "N" word.

  • consumerism false2

    Consumerism: Coca Cola, Lux soap, Trailways buses, Fairmont Hotel, Ramada Inn, A & P Markets.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false4

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Continuous drinking and smoking throughout. Characters hold bottles of beer, shots, mixed drinks and cigarettes or cigars in clubs, at parties, during musical recording sessions, relaxing at home, et al. Cocaine abuse is seen to add fuel to Ike Turner's increasingly violent and erratic behavior. Tina Turner attempts suicide using pills.