What’s missing from Selena Gomez’s documentary My Mind and Me

Music documentaries are a dime a dozen these days. Over the past three years, a handful of A-list artists including Billie Eilish, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lopez, Travis Scott and Ariana Grande have given fans behind-the-scenes insights into touring, recording sessions, special performances and other career highlights throughout different streaming platforms. in a (n Weekly entertainment In an article on this phenomenon, journalist Marcus Jones theorized that for today’s greatest musicians, “they have become a cinematic subject, using the lengthy magazine covers and network TV sessions as a way for artists to express themselves.” to show in a new light has as good as replaced .”

However, it was only a matter of time before Selena Gomez, a rather private and sometimes press-shy pop star, would use the medium to her advantage — although the seed for a documentary was planted back in 2015. After watching Madonna: Truth or Dare Gomez recruited director Alek Keshishian, who also directed her music video Hands to Myself (and is her manager’s brother), to follow her on the world tour for her second studio album. revival. However, their plans came to a halt when Gomez quit the tour after 55 shows, citing depression and anxiety as a result of her lupus. In 2018 she was admitted to a psychiatric facility.

These somber turning points would ultimately take center stage Selena Gomez: My mind and I, now on Apple TV+. The 90-minute documentary begins with disturbing footage of the “Come and Get It” singer, who was having emotional outbursts before her tour was canceled, and continues in 2019 after she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. As the title suggests, the film helps fans understand the 30-year-old’s headspace over the past six years, as headlines about her physical and mental health have cast a shadow over her otherwise thriving career.

“Let me make you a promise,” she says at the beginning of the film. “I’ll only tell you my darkest secrets.”

How readily you believe that this statement from one of the world’s biggest celebrities will shape your experience watching the documentary. Still, the synopsis Gomez offers about her past mental health struggles is about as heartbreaking as one would expect, even if it’s a little vague. That Only murders in the building star, along with her friends and family interviewed in the document, alluded to her experiences with suicidal thoughts and the wedge her bipolar episodes drove between her and loved ones before she was diagnosed. Additionally, in a scene where she’s suffering from a flare-up of lupus, we see how dealing with a chronic illness affects her overall well-being.

While her willingness to talk about such a difficult subject is certainly noble and beneficial to certain viewers, it’s not particularly surprising that she opens up in this way if you pay attention to her non-musical output. Much of Gomez’s social media presence, speaking engagements, community service, and even television projects in recent years, like 13 reasons why, have focused on mental health awareness. And she even launched a mental health company called Wondermind last year, inspired by her personal journey.

That is, I found My mind and I being a more fascinating documentary in its less PR-esque sequences. Seeing Gomez attend her elementary school in Texas and reunite with her childhood neighbors is sweet and a touching reminder of her humble beginnings. But the more candid shots of her at work complaining about doing press for her album Rarely and feeling “like a product” create a more compelling story about the nature of celebrity. And yet, apart from the occasional shot of Gomez being swarmed by paparazzi and constantly being asked about her ex, Justin Bieber, the documentary doesn’t pay too much attention to Selena Gomez, the superstar.

“And yet, apart from the occasional shot of Gomez being swarmed by paparazzi and constantly being asked about her ex, Justin Bieber, the documentary doesn’t pay too much attention to Selena Gomez, the superstar.”

It’s strange how Gomez’s fame is underestimated throughout the film. While Keshishian answers fans’ questions about her personal well-being, the documentary inadvertently asks a different one: Does Gomez actually like her job? And why is she still in business if it seems to be causing her so much grief? The film lacks that clarity because it practically doesn’t delve into her craft as a singer, actress, or producer. Gomez answers the latter himself, repeatedly explaining that she wants to use her platform to help people. (This is a hard-to-accept answer from a multi-millionaire with a makeup line).

While Gomez’s intentions could very well be pure, some parts of the documentary take a break, including a trip to Kenya to attend WE College – which she helped raise money for with the controversial WE Charity – halfway through the film. Gomez seems oblivious to the fact that she’s engaging in “voluntourism.” And while her conversations with students are heartwarming, those conversations benefit Gomez the most on her spiritual and emotional journey. It’s refreshing, at least, that this segment ends with the singer’s best friend, Raquelle, bluntly reminding her that “that’s not the case [her] Reality.”

In total, My mind and I paints a sensitive, PR-friendly portrait of Gomez as a kind, altruistic pop star. It’s frustrating that the doctor is no longer interested in interrogating the disaffected child actor or woman whose seismic fame sometimes seems inexplicable. A bolder doctor would address the harder questions about her celebrity. Maybe Gomez isn’t ready to go there just yet. What’s missing from Selena Gomez’s documentary My Mind and Me

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