February 16th was marked on my calendar for months, the day that Beyonce's documentary would finally be released on HBO. I was expecting an even better version of Selena, with the pop star playing herself and not getting shot in the end. Unfortunately, my time would have been better spent re-watching Dreamgirls. Or perhaps even Never Say Never, which I will unashamedly admit I saw in theaters two years ago and was far more interested in than this made-for-TV tell-all-but-not-that-much film.
A better title for this hour and a half of video content would have been "Skyping with Beyonce: In Your Dreams." Over 90 minutes, I had some awkwardly intimate moments with Queen B and her webcam, as she explained how normal and human she is, even though her career/fame/beauty&talent are anything but normal. She admits to being annoyed that everyone is brainwashed by a computer. But she's always in front of her computer. Always.
Beyonce claims she, "Chose being honest over being cool." I'm not quite sure what that means, but I like it. She also claims that "People don't make albums anymore." They don't? What have I been listening to? This dishonest statement makes me question the former.
“Money gives men the power to define our values, to define what’s sexy, what’s feminine. And that’s bullshit.”
Beyonce, without actually using the f-word, declares herself an ardent feminist, who will not let her values and decisions be decided by men because they have more money and power. Very nice. So why are all of your costumes so slinky? Seriously, almost every performance sampled in the film, Beyonce rocked some Flashdance inspired outfits that just as well could have come from a high class strip club wardrobe. (Except for the purple sequin blazer scene. That was awesome). But seriously? I understand there's a certain image she needs to portray in order to achieve and maintain her level of celebrity, but this "Independent Woman" singer has yet to show us her definition of sexy femininity outside of the male expectations.
Beyonce has daddy issues. This was established. While a few cute childhood clips and Destiny's Child rehearsals made the 90 minutes more entertaining, this was far from the Beyonce life story. Instead, the film was very much a portrait of Beyonce's life now, which I care about a little bit, but who doesn't love a good rise to fame story? I reiterate, Never Say Never had a more compelling plot.
My favorite part was not the sappy speech she makes while sitting on a boat and listening to Feist, even though that seems like all anyone is talking about, but watching her rehearse in the hallway of her hotel room to music playing though her laptop was one of the scenes that truly made her feel like a real person. It didn't need any narration (by herself, obviously) about why she was so average but just really blessed, or any pre-written phrases like "being pregnant is like being in love" (Is it? Really?), it just spoke for itself. It was so normal. And a bit quirky. And awesome. And made me want to go dance in my hallway.
The conclusion of Beyonce's much anticipated documentary/autobiographical indulgence film finally reveals Blue Ivy. And she's adorable! Of course. But it makes me wonder if the whole project was a clever ploy to introduce baby Carter to her millions of fans? Whatever. Who cares. That's one lucky baby...