On Jan. 31, Taylor Swift’s documentary “Miss Americana” premiered on Netflix. Directed by Lana Wilson, the documentary is perhaps the most translucent look fans have ever gotten into the pop star’s personal life since she soared to stardom at sixteen.
The film depicts Swift’s career from start to finish, from the view of Swift herself. She describes what stardom felt like for her and how it affected her growing up in the spotlight. She talks about some of her most notorious moments, such as when Kanye West jumped on stage and stole the microphone from her at the Video Music Awards.
One of the strongest themes throughout the film is truly how lonely Swift felt in recent years since the world decided to “cancel her.” She takes us through the writing of “Reputation” and how she felt the need to take control of a narrative that has been in the hands of the press since she was just a teen with a guitar.
Under the scrutiny of the spotlight she confesses to seeing bad pictures of herself and not eating. This is the first time Swift has alluded to having an eating disorder, and she is honest in that she felt she was doing what she needed to do to be loved by the world that was watching.
What is revealed about Swift is an unparalleled work ethic that propels her forward as she gets older. One of the most heart-breaking moments is when she is on the phone hearing that she wasn’t nominated for any Grammys for her album “Reputation,” to which she responds, “I just have to work harder.”
The success of the following album she wrote only drove Swift forward. Following what she seemed to feel was the failure that is “Reputation,” Swift came out with a stand-out album last year. Swift once again proved she could reinvent herself after the advent of “Lover,” a powerful pop album that easily hit the top of the charts.
Swift also gives a look into her current relationship, which she has kept almost entirely out of the spotlight since its beginning. After explaining after a particular success she felt she should have someone to call, but didn’t, she discusses the happiness that her family and her relationship brought into her life. Joe Alwyn, a British actor, has been connected to Taylor Swift for over a year now, but up until now there was not much the press knew about their relationship. She discusses her decision to keep her relationship to herself, and what it has done for her and Joe as a couple.
The final segment of the film follows Swift’s decision to enter the political realm. Taylor has carefully kept her opinions hidden away since the beginning of her career, but felt a new sense of responsibility to use her platform for good. This decision is not taken lightly by her team, who cautioned her that becoming too political could rub people the wrong way. However, Swift insisted on making public her backing of policies such as the Equality Act, which she feels is a necessary human right.
Overall the film is an open and honest look into Swift’s life and career. She is more transparent and more outspoken than she has been in her entire professional life as a performer. As a Taylor Swift fan, I felt deeply saddened for her as she experienced such loneliness in her career despite being so loved by fans like me, who have grown up with her. However, I am happy to see her in this light where she appears to be more herself than ever.