Pop star gets personal

Taylor Swift opens up in Netflix documentary

Earning the American Music Awards’ Artist of the Decade, a title previously held by The Beatles, and Micheal Jackson, Taylor Swift has achieved a level of success that few have. With that success, of course, comes unrelenting fame, and Swift is no stranger to tabloids, rumors, and celebrity gossip. 

With a career characterized by very personal songs about very public relationships, the singer-songwriter is notorious for her dating history and celebrity feuds, two topics of many covered in her new Netflix documentary Miss Americana

Directed by Emmy winning director Lana Wilson and starring a popstar subjected to years of invasive media coverage, Miss Americana is the compelling, eye-opening look into the life of one of the most influential artists of our time. 

For the first time in nearly a decade, Swift opens up about the fall-out from Kanye West’s infamous actions at the 2009 VMAs, however, the film focuses more on the second act of the Kanye-Taylor feud; the 2016 phone call that left the internet with a newfound hatred for Swift. 

The film tackles the complexities of our new “cancel culture” with incredible nuance, offering insight into the emotions of someone who was once “canceled” herself. 

“The hashtag, ‘TaylorSwiftIsOverParty’ was trending worldwide on Twitter,” Swift explains at one point in the film. “Do you know how many people have to be tweeting that they hate you for that to happen?”

While Swift talks in length about the effects of social media on her mental health, she also calls out the toxicity of traditional media, giving an emotional testimony to the serious self-confidence issues she faced as a result of constant body-shaming. In a deeply emotional scene, Swift talks about her previous eating disorders and describes the path it took to overcome them.

Covering a multitude of topics, the film is held together by a prevalent motif; no matter what is thrown her way, Swift does what she always has: overcome her obstacles.

Whether it is a petty internet hashtag, a heart-wrenching sexual assault trial, or President Donald Trump liking her music “25% less,”  the film shows Swift going on, looking forward, and writing her truth. 

In addition to Swift’s side of her relationship with fame and the media, the film documents the writing of her sixth and seventh studio albums, reputation, and Lover. The audience gets to see the creation of some of her biggest hits, an interesting and rare look into the singer’s songwriting process. 

The film ends right where it started- on the VMAs stage. However, this time it is 2019, not 2009, and Swift has grown from a naive young country artist to one of the highest-selling musicians of all time, with six number one albums, ten Grammy awards, and more than 50 top-40 hits. 

In 85 minutes, Miss Americana explores the personal life of a prolific pop star with incredible complexity and nuance, reenforcing the love Swift’s fans already possess for her and potentially softening the views of former critics.