Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me, a new documentary for Apple TV+, has a sense of a shadow self, the ghosts of other films that could’ve been. The first 15 minutes of the film take place in 2016, as a much younger Gomez – she was 23 then, 30 now – prepares for the world tour in support of her 2015 album Revival, the endeavour intended to refashion her image from Disney star to single adult sexual being.
The footage has all the hallmarks of a tour documentary: a relaxed, more profane Gomez in costume fittings and tour rehearsals; a moment when she cracks under pressure, panicking through tears to friends and crew that nothing is good enough; and a montage of cities, stages, poses, cheers, and crying, overwhelmed fans. After that, cut. The Revival tour was cancelled after 55 shows due to Gomez’s admission to a psychiatric hospital. Talking heads that don’t appear for the rest of the film attest to Gomez’s ordeal.
Cut to 2019, as Gomez recovers from a whirlwind three years of tumult: a 2017 kidney transplant due to complications from the auto-immune disease lupus, a breathlessly covered reconciliation and final breakup with Justin Bieber, reconciliation with her family post-psychosis, and another stay in a treatment facility with the diagnosis of bipolar disorder.
Selena Gomez Documentary Review
My Mind & Me, directed by Alek Keshishian, whose 1991 Madonna film Truth or Dare set the mould and remains the gold standard for the genre, is an especially intriguing amalgamation of choices. There’s no mention of her well-received return to TV on the popular Hulu series Only Murders in the Building, her similarly endearing cooking show Selena + Chef, or her and her mother’s role in producing the controversial series 13 Reasons Why; there’s only a brief mention of her first Spanish-language album, Revelación, released in 2021.
My Mind & Me, on the other hand, is a riveting, if at times confusing, collection of tangents, elisions, and redirections accumulated over six years, during which time Gomez’s personal life and understanding of her brain altered dramatically. Though Gomez promises to “only tell you my darkest secrets” in the film’s opening frames, the film feels more like a blinkered, sincere, transparently incomplete archive of hard-won growth than an act of exorcism, propaganda, or observation a la Demi Lovato’s Dancing with the Devil, Taylor Swift’s Miss Americana, and Billie Eilish’s The World’s A Little Blurry.
That’s not a negative thing, because Gomez remains a relatable and endearing figure. Perhaps because much of her career has been defined less by her artistry and more by her ability to be appealing and empathic across formats, Gomez is the pop star with the most visible Sliding Door self – a normal girl, the kind who gets drive-thru burgers with her cousin Priscilla in the film’s middle section in her home town of Grand Prairie, Texas. Gomez has publicly chafed the most of her millennial pop star cohort at the expectation to be seen and the celebrity necessity to want to perform.
Mind & Me is thus ambivalently commercial – a pop star documentary largely concerned with the utility of celebrity, even as she promotes her 2020 comeback album Rare in the film’s second half. Why continue if, as she explains in the film’s exceedingly cheesy interludes that display her journal notes over blurred black-and-white video of Gomez, success “has killed me”?
The remedy, as provided by the film and given with Gomez’s dependable earnestness, is to connect with others. My Mind & Me depicts her panic and ultimate happiness at disclosing her bipolar diagnosis, as well as her truly incredible attempts to de-stigmatize mental illness. It’s more powerful when Keshishian, a verité filmmaker, catches Gomez recounting it rather than following her to locations where it can be seen – her previous middle school, her childhood home, an old neighbour friend’s house. The difference is particularly apparent in a middle chapter set in Kenya, where Gomez visits a school supported by the now-controversial We Charity. Gomez certainly cares; the pictures, which are a main focus of the film, still make me grimace.
As in Truth or Dare, Keshishian works in situations that undermine Gomez’s angelic image: being abrupt with a too-glib interviewer, refusing to listen to a friend, reacting poorly to real concern. My Mind & Me is at its best and bravest in these moments, demonstrating Gomez’s humanity through universal abilities we don’t want recorded. Taylor Swift’s stage-managed documentary would never happen. At one point, her friend Raquelle observes that most people are unaware of how “complex” Gomez is beneath the friendliness. At its best, My Mind & Me captures that thorny complexity through the eyes of a star who makes the strongest case for both sharing and concealing it.
Selena Gomez Documentary Netflix
Netflix does not have any of Selena Gomez Documentary.
Selena Gomez Documentary Release Date
Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me, released on Apple TV+ and in selected theaters on November 4, 2022.
Selena Gomez Documentary Where to Watch
Watch Selena Gomez Documentary Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me on Apple TV+.
You can watch Selena Gomez Documentary on Apple TV+.