Director: Lana Wilson
Cast: Taylor Swift
Synopsis: Documentary following Taylor’s childhood and her ability to embrace her voice.
Taylor Swift, like many of the rest of us, has always wanted the admiration and love of the people around her. She has needed that affection and uses it to drive her to more and more heights. This documentary shows that she need to be loved by her fans, but it also shows the need to feel loved by herself. Something many people struggle with, including me.
Taylor Swift became famous at such a young age. She wasn’t just a well-known artist either, she became a global sensation with her mix of pop/country that took the world by storm at only 17. People loved her, crowds cheered for her, stadiums were filled. She was selling records and breaking some at the same time. She was slowly growing to be one of the biggest stars not of the decade of the century, but her potential at such a young age was grounds to believe she could become one of the best artists of all time.
There was a mountaintop of billboard charts she climbed day in and out, and in 2009 she received the high honor of winning a VMA award. She was at such a moment in her life where nothing or no one could pull her down. Well, almost no one. Because, when Kanye stepped on the stage and proclaimed to the audience and the world that Taylor should not have won, the world Taylor Swift knew came to a halt. As Kanye left the stage, what once was cheers quickly turned to boos with a bombshell of an announcement that wrecked everything Swift had tried to accomplish. Still, a kid trying to make it in the big business of entertainment hoopla, a legend, and, still at the time, a highly respected individual of music-making had said she wasn’t good enough.
This documentary wonderfully follows Taylor from that beaten and battered place to a new reality. One where she can live freely and voice herself. Rules and regulations she had made for herself at a younger age began to be thrown out of the window as she was able to recapture her own voice aside from her musical one. She no longer had a longing for the admiration of fans, but a respectful notion that she was going to create what she wanted and not let herself be torn down by the weight and the pressures of the industry around her.
Taylor Swift over the past decade quietly became one of the biggest stars the world has ever seen. She was breaking records that the Beetles were holding, and still, that was not enough for her. This documentary Shows Taylor Swift at her most vulnerable state, and that will either work for some or be a major turn off for others. There are times in this where I think she wants the audience to feel bad for her, but with her openness throughout the film, I have reason to believe she was just telling us the state she was in. I think this is one of the first times we see Taylor, not as an artist begging for permission, but as someone who just wants to get something off their chest that has been weighing on them. This could all be a major marketing ploy to get us to try to understand why she has been the way she was over the past decade, but I sincerely doubt it.
Final: Taylor Swift fans will love this, others maybe not so much. Taylor gives us a very open and honest look at recapturing her voice after being vaulted from the mountaintop. She quietly became one of the biggest stars of the 2010s, and I doubt her train will slow down anytime soon.
Current Tomato Score: 90%
Current Metacritic: 64
Current IMDb: 8/10
Oscar Predictions: Best Documentary, Best Original Song
Jacob is a film critic and co-founder of the Music City Drive-In. He is a member of the Music City Film Critics’ Association and specializes in the awards season. You can find him on Twitter @Tberry57.