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Thoughts On HBO’s Tele-Doc ‘Beyoncé: Life Is But A Dream’…

Thoughts On HBO's Tele-Doc 'Beyoncé: Life Is But A Dream'...

Multi-hyphenate Beyoncé Knowles’ self-directed HBO documentary special, Beyoncé: Life Is But A Dream, aired on Saturday, February 16, 2013.

I’ve been busy with the New Voices In Black Cinema Festival (which I’m the co-curator of) here in Brooklyn, NY, since Friday, so I haven’t watched much TV in the last 3 days. I certainly didn’t watch Ms Knowles’ film on Saturday night, and, to be frank, it’s not exactly high on my to-see list. Maybe I’ll watch it some time down the road. Maybe not.

But if you did watch it, what did you think?

Not only does she obviously *star* in it, she also directed it, and was the film’s executive producer.

In short, she pretty much controlled the whole show. So how much *truth* could be found in it? Did you learn anything you didn’t already know about her? Was it, at the very least, well-made and engaging?

Dig in…

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I was looking forward to this because I thought we would actually see the raw Beyoncé, all of her being completely natural & honest with the camera. It was so work related & it only scratched the surface on who she really is. Unless she is all about work & has no depth?


I found the documentary extremely pretentious


The film was boring, and I think she only did it to prove that she was in fact carrying her own child. But for someone who had a miscarriage in the past, would have taken care of heeself even more! Instead she was on the floor on her belly dancing and shaking so much. I still think she was never pregnant.


The fact that she directed it made me not want to watch it. Directing a documentary about yourself is like being the only person to taste your food if you were a chef. your opinion is bias. Of course you're going to make you look as good as possible, for that fact alone i decided not to watch it.


This interview with O and B, then the HBO. I felt like I was looking at someone who was abducted by aliens. Was me or her, she kept saying the same thing but in a different way. Something is missing from this woman. I WAS JUST LOST, and O kept filing in the blanks to help her out. All I could say was WOW,,,,


I watched it with my step-daughter and we are big Beyonce fans. We talked through some of it, but overall I didn't miss much. Plenty of pros here for Beyonce fans such as the acapella singing and in the studio footage. Her vocals are awe-inspiring and it reminds everyone the great vocal performer and entertainer that she is. The footage of her and Jay-Z was sweet and touching. The footage of their baby stole the show. Behind the scenes footage of some of the award performances and videos was nice. A great collection of home video. She chose a great money-generating method to do lead up promotion for the next album and to clear up rumors she chose to and give herself a more human appeal, an every-woman appeal. Even sharing the pain of a miscarriage allowed for people who are not fans and some overall haters feel a bond with her.

The cons: Beyonce herself stated her story was never told and she was finally telling it, but outside of a person in their twenties and older who has followed her career, she gave almost no background to her story. No telling of how she started, the sacrifices her father and family made for her group's success. If you are not a follower of Beyonce I believe there would be a confusion to what you watched. Where was thee story? How did this phenom Beyonce begin? Also, I felt that a lot of the material introduced in the Doc was left hanging a bit and clarity was really given in the interview she gave with Oprah. The Oprah interview was almost like a companion piece that needs to be seen to make segments of the Doc complete. One of the most powerful parts of the Doc was her speaking in front of the laptop camera, hair pulled back, and she spoke about her father; the seperation of him as her manager, fond memories of him when she was young, how he pushed her to be better, taking her nephew to Paris with his father, being stressed and how she needs to let it go and make love to her husband… A very powerful reflection on fathers, BUT it was edited and the clips placed so far apart from each other that I think it lost the power it could have had if placed closer together.

Overall, the first film attempt from her and executed overall solo (I can tell by the editing) it was well done. Great for fans and fascination, but not as great and complete a narrative it could have been.

bohemian princess

15 years later and I still haven't the faintest idea who Beyonce is. This documentary did little to reveal the mystique. Much like her cautiously guarded public persona Life is But a Dream is calculated, inauthentic, and much too glossy for my liking. If you're a Beyonce fan then this overly polished propaganda piece is exactly what will tickle your fancy. Beyonce is always "on" and her desire to be perfect makes her the furthest thing from relatable. If your eyes don't glaze over by the end credits then give yourself a cookie and a pat on the back. If inauthenticity is what I was searching for then I would have just watched her inauguration performance.


Just to put it plainly: I watched the film just because it was on and I was bored, and I left the film feeling sorry for her because there is clearly something psychologically wrong with this girl. I don't know how to explain it, but she seems to be off mentally (in an MJ, minus the crazy plastic surgery and pedophilia, sort of way), and Jay Z seems like a parasite who took advantage of her. The film was eerie as hell, imo. Just my two cents. .


I am like you Tambay…This was not a must see for me. I will watch it at my convenience. Without looking at this I think she is trying to get ppl to see who she really is (real) but it seems fake still. I like Beyonce and think she is really talented…but something never connectedwith me…I can't put my hands on it?


i'm not a fan of Beyonce's music, but i think she's a terrific performer.

regardless, the B documentary is just a reminder that there are real people behind these self created facades. you don't have to be a fan of someone to respect their humanity. i still don't love her music, but i appreciate her reminding me she's a person, not a star.


Highs: I respect the work and the independence that she put into this project. I liked the footage of her team putting together her show. I love seeing the "non-glamourous" side of production.

Lows: I nodded off, sent tweets and browsed the web throughout the film — it was boring as hell.


No one said she had to tell everything, but it was inauthentic and bland. Maybe she's just overall bland with no personality. It was just boring, there was absolutely no point to it.


I am a Beyonce fan too but I don't think my opinion is bias. I thought it was an engaging movie. She never said 'Ok world I'll tell you everything you want to know'. She made the film to share what 'she chose' to share. The public feels like celebrities HAVE to tell all their business. I respect most that she and Jay Z are selective about what they share, with whom and when. I most enjoyed the 'talking into her laptop' moments best but overall, I appreciate what she did share with us. It was more like a video diary of the last few years than a documentary. Some people will find something to criticize about everything. I guess I'm a glass half full kinda person. :)


It was bland and boring. Everything was so calculated and kind of pretentious. Nothing was said that people didn't already know about. To be honest, I didn't get the point of any of it. I mean it's just promotion for her upcoming album.


It was too much performance for me. Performance shots, that is. I liked the one-on-one and then "candid" scenes and felt there should have been more of THAT. Also, what a great way to have addressed the "scandals" associated with the high-points in her life during that time: the Billboard awards (backlash from supposed plaigarized performance); '4' and its reception (while critically acclaimed it was slow-going); RTW(Girls) um, not received well by fans, even the die-hard ones; her father (the drama with him); not being nominated for an Oscar…her Oscar goals…her acting goals; etc. There was a whole lot more she could have spoken about, but didn't…but should have. There's still a lot of walls up. She's "on" even when she's "off", if that makes any sense. With that said, I did enjoy her speaking of her grandmother and mother and family (wish there could have been more of that). More scenes like the ending one with her family in their flat would have been nice and really "candid"… Overall it was nice to see her (again for some, but for the first time for me).


It was good, she shared parts of her life that she normally does not share. She talked about her miscarriage, her marriage, her work, fears, etc…I enjoyed it, but I'm a fan not a hater of Beyonce. I came away with more love and respect for her and her work.

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