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Taylor Swift: Miss Americana


A sweet doc about one of the century's great pop stars.

Movie reviewed--Taylor Swift: Miss Americana

Grade: B

Director: Lana Wilson (The Departure)

Screenplay: Documentary

Cast: Taylor Swift

Runtime: 1h 25m

By: John DeSando

“Okay, so, I always have to bring up everything that can go sideways - everything that we need to expect. Number one: the president could come after you.” Tree Paine

In Taylor Swift: Miss Americana, Swift doesn’t care what the president does; she is remarkably her own woman, caring mostly about her mom and her songs. This warmly-directed doc by first-rate director Lana Wilson is as much interested in the audiences seeing Swift a brilliant, original performer as seeing her a thoughtful, ambitious young woman who loves audience reaction as if they were family.

She is no coddled artist; rather she is a hard-working middle-class musician from Nashville who embodies for the filmmakers the widely-accessible Americana movement, which puts country and pop into the same word. Soulful ballads about personal life resonate with Swift’s guarded but loving persona, helped by a sexy-wholesome mien that appeals to just about anyone, even mature types like me.

This wholesome doc is best at lingering with Swift in a location trailer or her private plane. She is open about the relentless passage of time on her aging but still-young body and her desire for a love. Other documentaries about pop-divas tend to stress the musical performance, but here as much time is spent with her private interactions and musings as her music. Madonna’s Truth or Dare could be considered a precursor.

Swift’s seeking approval ever since she was a country star more than a dozen years ago is in evidence here as she turns 30 and still longs to win another Grammy. At this time, she is self-confident enough to get into a Tennessee political race and to eventually face Kanye West’s MTV 2018 video awards sabotage.

Taylor Swift: Miss Americana is an entertaining documentary sanitized but fascinating when it reveals the longings of a major pop diva of the 21st century. My how she has grown. Look for it on Netflix.

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at JohnDeSando62@gmail.com.

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, is host of WCBE's programs It's Movie Time and Cinema Classics, and the podcasts Back Talk and Double Take. Contact him at johndesando52@gmail.com.