While we’re self-isolating, pop star Taylor Swift’s poignant question – “Shouldn’t I have someone to call right now?” – strikes the same chord of loneliness felt by millions of us.
This documentary opens with 30 year-old Swift pouring over her old diaries. She recalls “a need to be thought of as good.” While that propelled her into seeking public appreciation, it also deluded her into thinking that the approval of others might bring her true happiness.
Taylor talks openly about how she struggled with an eating disorder caused by her inability to live up to ‘perfect’ beauty standards set by others – and how her early training in country music emphasized keeping her opinions to herself to avoid division.
But then in 2009, Kanya West jumped onstage at the MTV Video Music Awards, rudely declaring, “Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time,” interrupting Swift’s acceptance for Best Female Video for “You Belong With Me.”
Swift talks about a pivotal encounter and subsequent court case against Denver DJ David Mueller who groped her during a 2013 promo event; she won a $1 million judgment against him. As related, it stems from the music industry’s sexualization and discrimination against women.
That led to Swift’s endorsement of Democratic Governor Phil Bredesen in her home state of Tennessee during the 2018 midterms. Bredesen lost to Sen. Marsha Blackburn, a Republican who refused to support legislation to protect women from stalking and domestic violence, prompting Swift to dub her “Trump in a wig.”
“I want to work really hard while society is still tolerating me being successful,” Swift explains. “I work in an industry where women are discarded in an elephant graveyard by the time they’re 35.”
Director Lana Wilson (After Tiller) uses a montage of Swift’s instant, on-stage costume changes as a metaphor for the multi-faceted singer/songwriter’s persona, celebrating her seven million-selling albums, two Grammy album-of-the-year awards and her devoted fans.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, Miss Americana is a cleverly controlled, yet sincerely self-aware 6 – available on Netflix.