The Reel Review

B+

Pop superstar Taylor Swift provides a candid, vulnerable glimpse inside her world in this Netflix documentary, which also explores Swift’s past battle with an eating disorder, her mother’s cancer diagnosis, and Swift’s evolution from an apolitical good girl to activist for women’s and LGBTQ rights. Now aged 30, Swift, quite simply, is growing up.

Director Lana Wilson (The Departure) calls the documentary a “raw and emotionally revealing look” at a time when Swift is harnessing the full power of her voice. And to that effect, the documentary, with Swift’s teen diary entries, recording sessions, and discussions with her concerned managers about going public with her political views is spot on. Swift also comments on both the loneliness and fleetingness of fame while working on her 2019 album, Lover.

Fans will adore the film’s touching, more vulnerable glimpse inside Swift’s world, even though many will be left longing for more. (Swift says record producers Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta, who now own the rights to her prior songs, blocked her from using them in Miss Americana.) Even those who aren’t Swift superfans will still appreciate the extremely likable superstar’s work ethic and love for her fans, which makes the pain Swift experienced at a sudden surge in unpopularity during the whole Kim Kardashian/Kanye West 2016 song controversy (which prompted her to take a year off) even more heartbreaking to witness. Hopefully the pop icon will continue to evolve, grow and use her voice to inspire others.

REEL FACTS

• At 20, Taylor Swift became the youngest singer/songwriter to win a Grammy for Album of the Year for her album, Fearless. She won Album of Year again in 2014 for her album 1989.

• Comedian Nikki Glaser, who was one of the people shown mocking Taylor’s appearance, apologized on Instagram after seeing the documentary, prompting this reaction from Swift:

Taylor Swift and boyfriend Joe Alwyn

• Superfans are convinced that Taylor Swift MAY be engaged to boyfriend of three years, Joe Alwyn (Harriet, The Favourite), after seeing a ring on her left hand during one of the film’s interview segments.

 

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