TAYLOR SWIFT: MISS AMERICANA – Review by Susan Granger

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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.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.