In Beyoncé’s HBO documentary, “Life Is But a Dream,” the so-called Queen of Pop reassured upwards of 1.8 million viewers of her role as a female powerhouse. The documentary produced by, narrated by, and starring Beyoncé allowed the star to paint an image of herself that she knew would please her audience and add to her exponentially growing popularity.
From snapshots of her childhood in Houston, to sneak peeks of her grueling work process and dramatic performances, nearly the entire film depicts the star in a positive light. Beyoncé claims at one point that she “[thinks] people have an idea in their heads about entertainers [and] celebrities … [they] feel like their lives are so perfect, and it’s really hard to go through painful experiences when you are in the public eye.” She ironically pleads to be seen not as a product of the music industry, but as a sensitive artist and a human being.
Beyoncé does reflect, if briefly, on a major struggle that she has faced. She says: “It’s difficult being a woman. It’s so much pressure, and we need that support sometimes. We’re all going through our problems, but we all have the same insecurities and we all have the same abilities and we all need each other.”
Feminist messages of power are delivered soulfully in Beyoncé’s chart-topping songs such as “Single Ladies” and “Run the World (Girls),” but in her documentary the issue was barely covered.
Beyoncé should have been more adventurous in her film. It is too bad that she was not courageous enough to dig deeper into issues such as feminism. She merely focused on events that were meant to display that it’s not easy being a performer and businesswoman, but the performance instead seemed to portray a charmed life.
The New York Times reporter Alessandra Stanley calls Beyoncé’s film “an infomercial” and claims that the “documentary doesn’t really convey what life as a celebrity is like, but it does say a lot about how this celebrity would like to be seen.”
This documentary is recommended for those who were not satisfied by the amount of Beyoncé provided by the Super Bowl and who are thirsty for more Beyoncé, but not for those seeking to learn about life behind the lenses of paparazzi.