Apple TV+’s Intimate Portrait – The Hollywood Reporter

Before the release of Selena Gomez Rarely In 2020, the singer maintained a relatively low profile. She hardly did interviews and briefly deactivated her social media accounts. The album — a candy-sweet assemblage of anthemic, electro-pop self-love hits — marked a shift in the star’s relationship with the public. Gomez is no longer haunted by her Disney past or her turbulent relationships. She gets candid about her struggles with the autoimmune disease lupus, self-esteem, depression and anxiety. She was taking control, reshaping her image on her terms.

Not surprisingly, the album was followed by a documentary. Selena Gomez: My Mind & Mr A companion piece to Rarely, the next step in the star’s search for authentic self-expression. This year’s AFI Film Festival opens on Wednesday, Nov. The documentary, which opens on the 2nd, takes an intimate look at Gomez, downplaying her health struggles. Revival tour in 2016, with questions surrounding her break from public life and what comes next.

Selena Gomez: My Mind & Mr

The bottom line

Generous in its honesty.

Location: AFI Film Festival
Release Date: Friday, Nov. 4 (Apple TV+)
Director: Alec Keshishian
Screenwriters: Alec Keshishian, Paul Marchand

Rated R, 1 hour 35 minutes

Unlike other music documentaries (recently, a popular format for reimagining famous images), Gómez’s project operates in a rawer, grittier register. It was created by the relative youth of the 30-year-old star and an effort to communicate honestly rather than perfectly. One’s 20s — a decade that defines it even if it isn’t — have an uneasy quality to them, like a seat you can’t quite settle into. When you add in public scrutiny and the aggressive gaze of the paparazzi, the pressure to maintain stability, ease and hope undoubtedly increases, leaving behind the tiny confines of childhood and accepting the uncertainty of the rest of your life.

My mind and I Elucidates the parameters of Gómez’s life from its earliest moments. The documentary was directed by Alec Keshishian (1991 Madonna Doc Truth or dare), begins with a brief moment at Gomez’s press run before the pop star’s story is economized Revival trip In both of these montages, Gómez’s exhaustion is palpable. She is tired, she says at one point; She doesn’t understand what she’s doing, she says in another. These scenes – anxious, candid, swelling of emotions – suggest the kind of documentary experience one would expect: it’s a journey that sees the singer unravel before putting himself back together again.

After making the difficult decision to end her tour, Gomez faces a challenging set of years. For fans of the star, her battle with lupus, her kidney transplant in 2017, and her bipolar diagnosis aren’t all that revealing, but My mind and I These situations provide insight into the emotional toll taken on Gomez. Keshian considers his full access to the star a privilege. He doesn’t shield us from her less flattering moments, but doesn’t push her beyond her limits. The star tells us enough to set the documentary apart from other projects, but the omissions and missing details still set her apart.

We see Gomez trying to reassure her in front of her tour crew; We see the young star dragging herself out of bed to face each day of her work; We see her struggling with work-induced anxiety attacks and nerves. We also see her stutter through a process of self-care — leaning on her manager, her team, her friends.

Still there are nagging holes after the credits My mind and I, which raises questions about the purpose of popular documentaries, attempts to move beyond the genre’s vague self-mythology. Are they instruments of catharsis, journalism-lite ventures or gifts for fans? How much honesty can one reasonably expect before everything feels offensive? Because of her established candor, there were times when Gomez wanted to go into more detail. She describes her time at Disney in vaguely haunting terms, but does not specify the experiences that cause her nightmares. She gestures at feeling pigeon-holed and constrained by her high-profile relationships, but skims the explanation. She doesn’t talk about becoming an actress. Perhaps our desire to know more is evidence of a spell My mind and I Characters; You forget that Gomez is not a friend but a stranger.

The singer knows about this trench and its parts My mind and I creating a tension between Gomez’s simmering resentment and her complete resignation. Although she is always surrounded by people, she longs for more genuine connections. The documentary doesn’t try to garner sympathy, but invites viewers to engage with how fame can ensnare you. When Texas-born Gomez returns to her hometown, her character changes considerably. She is quiet in conversation with her cousins, former neighbors and current students at her old middle school. In scenes where Gomez drifts aimlessly through her suburban hometown, the singer escapes into a life that is not her own.

As My mind and I Moving on, we begin to notice that much of Gomez’s journey requires accepting her reality and suppressing her escapism. During a trip to Kenya, where she visited a charity she donated to for women’s education, Gomez and her friend Raquelle Stevens had a candid conversation about how the singer could make her real life more livable — she didn’t have to run. . The honesty, awkwardness and discomfort on display attest to Doc’s efforts to embrace the three dimensions of his subject.

That drive to complexity is also built in My mind and IHis visual language, which uses color and black-and-white in a mirrored manner Truth or dare. Cashishian had access to Gomez’s journal entries, which adds a more private-feeling layer to the project. These excerpts show us a different side of the singer, prone to self-flagellation and aware of the need to treat her health challenges – both mental and physical – as friends rather than adversaries. A voiceover reading of Gomez’s entries includes footage of her in a Día de Muertos-esque ensemble.

All these factors have circumstances My mind and I Create a clash of over-the-top evocative aesthetics – we veer from these heavy diaristic interludes to frenetic travel footage and emotional conversations to quiet press tour interviews. Gómez probably didn’t have time to process how much was going on. So, in the end, we want what the singer wants: to stop for a moment, stand still and take a breath.

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