For a better experience on MUBI, update your browser.
566 Ratings

What Happened, Miss Simone?

Directed by Liz Garbus
United States, 2015
Documentary, Biography


Liz Garbus explores the constant state of opposition that trapped Nina Simone—as a classical pianist pigeonholed in jazz, as a professional boxed in by family life, as a black woman in racist America.

What Happened, Miss Simone? Directed by Liz Garbus

Awards & Festivals

Academy Awards

2016 | Nominee: Best Documentary, Feature

Directors Guild of America

2016 | Nominee: Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary

It is a performance that stages a Black Power call-and-response moment to ring in the “Black is Beautiful” era, and under Liz Garbus’s sharp direction, the footage is framed by archival interviews of the artist articulating the crisis of a people robbed of their history… Garbus is a sophisticated storyteller and her Academy Award–nominated documentary uses performances, in part, to construct a compelling narrative about the artist who would come to be known as The High Priestess of Soul.
February 28, 2016
Read full article
In 1968, an interviewer asked Nina Simone what freedom meant to her. “It’s just a feeling,” she replied, seemingly flustered by the question. Then, suddenly, an answer occurred to her. “I’ll tell you what freedom is to me: no fear. I mean really, no fear!” This exchange appears early in Liz Garbus’s remarkable documentary, What Happened, Miss Simone?, and it’s a startling moment, for if Simone conveyed anything on stage, it was fearlessness.
February 28, 2016
Read full article
This Liz Garbus-directed documentary on the life of Nina Simone is a powerful and honest piece of work, very difficult at times to take (such intensity, such sadness), with incredible live footage of Nina Simone performing (some of it never before seen seen), as well as clips of interviews with Simone, throughout her life.
November 29, 2015
Read full article

What are people saying?

Related films