Film Review: Miss Americana

Over the past 13 years, country-turned-pop star Taylor Swift has been surrounded by controversy and polarising views. Now, she has explained all of that in her new Netflix documentary…

From a behind the scenes look of production on her albums, to fighting against her management in order to express her political views, Taylor shared nearly everything about her life in the spotlight, and her fans could not be happier about it.

Taylor Swift, now 30, started in the career when she was 15, and slowly rose to stardom as a country singer before switching to pop music.

At the time it was a move that shocked fans and critics alike, to which she explains that redesigning yourself is part of the career.

“The female artists that I know of have reinvented themselves 20 times more than the male artists. They have to, or else you’re out of a job. Constantly having to find new facets of yourself that people find to be shiny and new,” she admits.

This is a common theme throughout the documentary, showing how Taylor, once tight-lipped about politics and her stance on human rights, now refuses to be “muzzled”.

The documentary even shows how she argued with her management, and her own father, in order to break her silence on politics in one of the strongest and most compelling moments in the film.

“This is a really big deal to me, she (the Republican candidate in Tennessee) votes against fair pay for women, she votes against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women act, which is basically protecting us from domestic abuse and stalking. Dad, I need you to forgive me for doing this, ‘cause I’m doing it,” she says tearfully.

The film couples Taylor’s opinions on politics with a video compilation showing the backlash that Grammy award-winning country band The Dixie Chicks received after speaking out publicly about George W. Bush.

Demonstrating the fear that comes along with making her opinions known, Taylor bites the bullet and breaks her silence on politics and publicly supports the Democrat candidate in her home state of Tennessee, which results in over 50,000 new voter registrations.

The documentary also details how her rise and inevitable fall in the career shaped and changed her psychologically, including Kanye West interrupting her speech at the MTV VMAs, her sexual assault court trial, and her struggle with an eating disorder.

Some people have claimed that the documentary occasionally feels like a reality TV show, however these moments are infrequent, and effectively details the highs and the lows of Swift’s career.

Many people have criticized Taylor for being calculated or manipulative, with some reverting back to these old criticisms and stating that she is once again playing the victim in the new tell-all documentary.

However, after watching Miss Americana, it’s easy to see what a large impact the world’s media and a life in the spotlight can have on someone who has shaped their life around seeking approval from fans and critics alike.

As a result, one of the biggest takeaways from the documentary is an idea that has been ingrained in women for years, and Taylor is striving to combat the idea that women are expected to be nice and polite.

“We’re trained to say sorry. Why did I say sorry? Sorry, was I loud, in my own house that I bought, with the songs that I wrote about my own life?”

Ultimately, Miss Americana is a powerful and emotional documentary that gives fans and critics alike an insight into Taylor’s life in the spotlight, and an emotive look into the effect that has had on her.

Miss Americana is available for streaming worldwide on Netflix.

By Faith Pring

Feature image credit: Netflix

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