HBO doc shows Beyonce not satisfied with her 'Dream'
STEPHON JOHNSON Amsterdam News Staff | 2/14/2013, 4:22 p.m.
The presidential inauguration. The Super Bowl halftime show. Blue Ivy. Beyonce Knowles-the person, the entertainer, the brand-weaves her way into the American pop culture consciousness one way or another. Despite her ubiquity on the radio, on music television stations (the few that are left) or at awards shows, even Beyonce's own fans know very little about who she is and what makes her tick. Here comes HBO to save the day.
"Beyonce: Life is a Dream" premieres on the cable network on Saturday at 9 p.m. and right away we're introduced to Knowles' voiceover while a camera shot of her childhood home fills the screen. "At some point in my career, I felt like I was doing too much," states the former Destiny's Child lead singer. "I was so commercially successful and it wasn't enough."
While Beyonce is viewed as more of an entertainer than someone who provides artistic nourishment, "Dream" aims to prove that there's hard work and hard times even for a pop star whose life seems perfect.
"There's something really crippling," states Beyonce when discusses her massive success. "You can't express yourself. I don't wanna sing about the same thing for 10 more years. You can't grow. I want to be able sing about how much I hate myself that day if that's how I feel. So I set a goal. And that goal is independence."
Her independence came at a cost when she fired her father as her manager. For fans of a woman who consistently sings about independence, watching Beyonce grapple with letting her father go and wanting him to just be a dad may be a shock to the senses of some. She discussed how her father constantly pushing her--knowing that she always wanted his approval--is what made her who she is today. Despite that, Beyonce felt that her relationship with her father made her "fragile" and her soul felt "tarnished."
But it's not all doom and gloom when discussing the Queen of Pop and R&B. "Dream" presents Beyonce as she journeys through the recording of her last album, "4," the pregnancy (and the rumors that she faked it), candid home video of Jay-Z being a regular guy and not the rap superhero of cool his fans tend to paint him as.
"Dream" also shows how lonely Beyonce is when she admits to talking directly to the camera on her laptop about her personal problems and neuroses. If it isn't work-related, there's no one for her to relate to.
The HBO doc might not win over new fans, but her current ones will be satiated by a look into the life of their favorite recording artist. As for those who don't show much interest in her music, "Dream" is still a good addition to celebrity documentaries about fame, the work that it entails, its costs and its rewards.