CHENNAI: Although Apple TV+ documentary “Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me” seems like an honest look at the life of one of entertainment industry’s brightest stars — and someone who has been open about her mental health struggles — it is intriguing that director Alek Keshishian does not elaborate on the actress’s work, or her much publicized relationship with ex-partner Justin Bieber.
Perhaps most famous for his 1991 work “Madonna: Truth or Dare,” which became a gold standard for celebrity-focused documentaries, Keshishian’s latest film comes off as lacking in balance due to its failure to mention Gomez’s much-nominated portfolio of TV series and music, including Hulu’s lauded “Only Murders in the Building.”
A more rounded take on the star outside her illnesses, including a look at her distinguished career, could have lifted the film from what it is — a trifle too dark.
What the director does focus on is the former Disney star’s ability to bounce back after a series of health issues, including her lupus diagnosis, a kidney transplant and bipolar disorder. Here is a young woman who consistently fought depression, even getting into psychiatric care, but who never lost the spark of optimism and the documentary’s portrayal of her determination is astounding.
Much of the film’s meat is contained in the first 15 minutes, out of a runtime of about 90 minutes, as the then-23-year-old gets ready for a world tour of her 2015 album, “Revival.” The tour was meant to discard her of her Disney image and project Gomez as an bona fide performer. We see her mentally exposed here — her lack of confidence, panic and tears reveal what she was going through.
Sadly, the “Revival” tour was called off after 55 performances when she entered a psychiatric institution and the documentary does a fine job at conveying a sense of trauma and angst.
A Grammy-nominated artist, Gomez has sold more than 210 million singles worldwide and amassed over 45 billion music streams globally. However, the film's emphasis is defined less by her artistry than her ability to be empathetic, which is a meaningful take.