YouTubes attempts to become competitors with the likes of Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services are certainly solidified after the release of Demi Lovatos documentary, Simply Complicated. Drawing seven million views within the first week of its release, the 78-minute documentary deserves all of the praise its getting.
Journeying through the darker stages of Lovatos life, Simply Complicated does everything a documentary should. It creates the sort of parasocial relationship weve been warned about, and in my case, it created a Lovato fan after many years of indifference toward the artist.
Her latest album, Tell Me You Love Me, was her most soulful and raw, and it clearly draws on her more recent life experiences. The natural connection parlayed into the documentary, and the producers took full advantage of this, cuing certain songs while tackling specific aspects of her life.
Between sections of Lovatos interviews, her music accompanied by B-roll footage creates mini music videos an engaging and deeply moving tactic. Not only did this liven up the documentary and give fans a new understanding of the origins of the songs, but it also popularized a lot of the tracks that previously received little to no airtime.
My biggest complaint from the documentary was the omission of the broken friendship with Selena Gomez. We can now assume the real reason for the major fallout was Lovatos excessive drug use at a young age, but it still would have been fascinating to include it.
In fact, after the release of the documentary, Gomez commented on one of Lovatos Instagram posts, and Lovato replied with gratitude. They also started following each other again, a sign of their willingness to move past old rifts now that the cats out of the bag.
Despite the heavier parts, Simply Complicated still includes the fun-loving side of the popstar. Scenes include the singer going to clubs with her friends, preparing for dates and belting it at the recording studio, which all aid in painting Lovato as a real human being. Its both refreshing and riveting.
Being flawed is the new glamorous when it comes to celebrities. Audiences recognize her willingness to bring a level of intimacy to her story, and it makes her relatable. Watching Simply Complicated led me to listening to Tell Me You Love Me on repeat, and now, Im fully invested in the fandom of Demi Lovato.
Lovatos frankness paired with her vulnerable lyrics makes it difficult not to fall in love with the 25-year-old, especially for those of us who grew up with her Disney persona. Its only evident in the rearview, but we never really knew Lovato until this documentary.
Since Disney is a powerhouse they kept all of her drug usage completely under wraps. I was aware of their intense moral clauses and the articulateness of the Disney World theme park itself, but I was still surprised at just how easily they were able to brush Lovato-gone-rogue under the carpet.
Its the sort of thing you would usually joke about, since plenty of childhood stars have gone off the rails. However, being on cocaine while producing a Disney Channel show and just chalking it up to an eating disorder is a new level of control. This begs the question; if you mess with the Mouse, what else gets shrouded in secrecy?
Now knowing just how extreme of an environment she was working in, her ability to move past that pressure for perfection is an even greater testament to her resiliency. A little honesty, transparency and good use of your platform can go a long way, and it certainly has made an impact on this new fan.