Miss Americana follows American singer-songwriter and international pop star, Taylor Swift, through many years of her professional career. With interviews, backstage recordings, and rehearsal footage, the documentary deep dives into Swift’s actions in recent years.
We see a self-critical portrait of Swift, but as the documentary was directed and released according to her instructions, it is not impactful enough and fails to make any shocking revelations.
1. Quick Review
Miss Americana is the latest celebrity character study, authored by the character being studied. As expected, Miss Americana touches upon but doesn’t explore any issues that might taint Swift’s reputation or cast a shadow on her PR image.
Capturing the songwriting process and motivation behind two of her latest albums, the movie shows how Swift overcomes her eating disorder and the need for validation.
In the 85 minute runtime of Miss American, we see Taylor deciding to no longer remain apolitical, and speaking out against the Republican senator from her state and Donald Trump. We are shown exactly what the star wants us to see, and fans of Swift will surely love this PR featurette with a moral compass.
2. Info & Watch Links
Miss AmericanaAir Date: January 23, 2020 Status: Finished Studio: Tremolo Productions
3. Is It Worth Watching?
Miss Americana is a documentary that will not change anything about Taylor Swift or her songs and reputation. Fans will flock to see it and love it, whereas those who skip it will live their lives in awe of her musical talent.
One can feel that the film’s narrative has been controlled and shaped by Swift, highlighting certain aspects of her professional career while glossing over the dark stuff.
I. Plot & Review
In Miss Americana’s opening moments, we see Taylor sitting on her couch in her pajamas, watching the Grammy nominations come out. When her album Reputation is snubbed, she is visibly distraught. She is hurt, but she picks herself up and says that she needs to write a better record nad starts working Lover.
Along the way, Swift does a lot of arguing and apologizing for her silence and being apolitical during the 2016 Presidential campaign. Her fight to go and express her views and support for the LGBTQIA+ community is hindered by her PR team, which thinks this will cost the star. Her hesitation is based on the Dixie Chicks, who were shunned by their country fans when they spoke out against President Bush and the launch of the Iraq War.
Another feature of the film is how Swift is a star trapped in the eye of the storm. Despite her glamorous reputation of having a squad of besties, she is alone in the critical moments. The men that she is dating aren’t permanent, a sea of blurred faces and cropped photos.
In between, we see footage from the initial stages of her career, and Swift confesses that in the beginning, she just wanted to be loved by the fans. She had knowingly curated the “good girl” image and now with a fan following of millions intends to use that power to make real change.
Taylor has fans from all walks of life, and her speaking out against the Trump Presidency is the liberating last act of the documentary, as she rises above her need to be liked.
We also see Taylor’s disillusionment of dislike and self-hatred that led to a previous eating disorder. In moments like these, Wilson doesn’t challenge Taylor and doesn’t have a free hand to explore the darker period of the star’s life. Her mother’s battle with cancer also comes up during the documentary.
5. Final Thoughts
Miss Americana feels like image branding repackaged as a documentary. It shows you exactly the parts the Taylor wants you to see. The film offers no deep insight into the enigmatic pop star. Taylor Swift takes her talent for storytelling from her music to the big screen.
Following the work she puts in for two of her albums, Reputation, and Lover, Miss Americana explores the difference in motivation and mindset while she was working on them.
It gives you a glimpse inside Swift’s songwriting process but has a haphazard timeline that fails to leave you with real insight.