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Katy Perry: Part Of Me (2012)
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Dan Cutforth, Jane Lipsitz
A documentary that chronicles Katy Perry's life on and off-stage.
Katy Perry: Part Of Me (2012) | Review
Ordinary Girl, Extraordinary World
I will be the first to admit that the notion of taking in a concert film of the latest pop princess isn't usually my first choice for a cinematic venture. Although, believe it or not, the more I began to hear about Katy Perry's story, the more intrigued I became.
So, yes. I proudly decided to see Katy Perry: Part of Me 3D.
Love her or hate her, Katy Perry remains one of the most powerful pop stars in the music industry today, shattering music industry records and selling out stadiums everywhere she tours. (Heck, even I find myself turning the radio up when I hear 'Firework' or 'Hot and Cold'.) Hardly shy of the spotlight, Perry's reputation for being sexually provocative has built up an aura of controversy around her, especially in more conservative circles. Even her surprising—and subsequently, failed—marriage to Russell Brand became a matter of public fascination.
But who is she after the stage lights go down? Without question, the goal of this film was to portray Perry as an ordinary girl wrapped up in extraordinary circumstances. In essence, the hope was for her to appear "just like us." In this area, I believe that they very much succeeded. By focusing on her family and personal life—even [GASP!] showing her without makeup—Perry manages to pull back the curtain on the sideshow and present herself as extremely relatable.
Even more surprising to me though was the level of openness that Perry was willing to explore in this film. For example, rather than avoid the topic of her failed marriage to Russell Brand, they boldly face the issue head on, showing Perry at some of her weakest moments. (In fact, the scene in which an emotionally crushed Perry must decide whether or not to cancel a show was genuinely heartbreaking to watch.) As a result, I must confess that I actually gained respect for Perry through this film. Her commitment to baring her soul helped me view her as a struggling young woman who merely hides behind the expensive sets and outrageous costumes. This is the Katy Perry that I can support.
Of interest to me most, however, was her relationship with her parents and God. The daughter of a traveling Pentecostal preacher, Perry was immersed in Christian culture in her youth. ("You know that 'slain in the spirit' fall down stuff? That was me," she states.) She even released a Christian pop album as a teen under the name Katy Hudson. When discussing what life was like in her childhood, the conversation quickly swings towards the challenges of growing up in a conservative Christian home. Whether it's restrictions on her family life ("I wasn't allowed to watch the Smurfs.") or her parent's disapproval of her music career, Perry clearly views her youth as stifling to her creativity. [uh&ellips; SPOILER ALERT?] For Perry, the turning point in her maturation as an artist appeared to come after she heard "You Oughtta Know" by Alanis Morrisette for the first time. Struck by the song's "raw emotion", Perry began to rethink how she wanted to express herself through her own music as well. [SPOILERS END] As a result, she began to break away from her conservative roots in an effort to explore life outside 'the box' and reinvent herself as an artist.
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