New Netflix documentary on Ariana Grande hits the wrong notes

New Netflix documentary on Ariana Grande hits the wrong notes
“Ariana Grande: Excuse Me, I Love You,” is on Netflix. (AFP)
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Updated 24 December 2020

New Netflix documentary on Ariana Grande hits the wrong notes

New Netflix documentary on Ariana Grande hits the wrong notes

CHENNAI: Ariana Grande is a 27-year-old American singing sensation, whose career began when she was barely 15 with an appearance in the Broadway musical, “13.”

It was not an unlucky number for her, catapulting the songstress to the skies with a Grammy Award and so many other trophies. She has eight Guinness World Records to her name and has been on the Forbes Celebrity 100 wealth list, and the annual Time 100 list of most influential people.

But documentary veteran, Paul Dugdale, does not deem it fit to include these in his latest work, “Ariana Grande: Excuse Me, I Love You.” Instead, he fills up 97 minutes of his Netflix film with her performances, turning it into a mere music video.

There have been documentaries on sportsman Michael Jordon and the Blackpink singers where the directors took us beyond the field and the arena making them exciting.

Jordon is a legendary American basketball player. People know that, and loved his game, but they also loved and craved for his life besides the ball and the net.

Fans also adored the girls from the South Korean group Blackpink and went crazy over their acts, but when each one of the singers narrated their personal experiences, relationships and dilemmas, disappointments and joys, their stories were lapped up.

Dugdale misses out on these in his documentary, and even madly ardent fans of Grande will no doubt be a tad disappointed by these omissions. After all, who does not want to know about what their favorite stars do once they have packed up for the day?

Silly, as it may seem, the Grande documentary spends 15 minutes on her describing her pet dog and pig, and how they relieved themselves on her bed. Bad taste or was Dugdale trying to make us laugh? Either way it was a bit juvenile.

However, the Grande documentary scores full marks for the lovely numbers and exciting dances which she and her team perform. Based on her 2019 Sweetener World Tour that took her to North America and Europe, the shows reveal how thousands of her fans are madly in love with her. But even they would sense how much the movie is not saying.

She has an amazing voice and an awesomely talented band of dancers. When her idol, Mariah Carey, asks her to do a solo, “All I Want for Christmas is You,” she gets emotional. A trace of her other persona is faintly visible here, but most of the time viewers see her strutting about the stage in exquisite designer wear and thigh-high boots — this is so impersonal.

Nonetheless, her numbers such as “Thank U, Next,” and “7 Rings” are marvelous to watch, and beautifully choreographed and photographed. Dugdale’s movie works well within the confines of the arena, but beyond this, it hits the wrong note. 

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