Netflix’s Jennifer Lopez Doc opens Tribeca – The Hollywood Reporter

It wouldn’t be entirely correct to call the title of Jennifer Lopez’s new Netflix documentary, Half the time, a double meaning, but it contains double meanings. The first is a nod to Lopez’s explosive performance at Super Bowl 2020 with Shakira, a career highlight for the Puerto Rican pop star who grew up in the Bronx. The second is a genuine feeling wrapped in the itchy robe of motivational speech: at 52, Lopez has just started and is using what she has learned about herself over the course of her decade-long career to hone a glass-half-full philosophy of life. .

Bowing as the opening night selection at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival ahead of its premiere on Netflix on June 14, Half the time is an optimistic view of Lopez’s career. Similar to other recent celebrity records (Beyonce’s Homecomingby Billie Eilish The world is a bit blurry and Janet Jackson’s Lifetime docuseries), Amanda Micheli’s film is a curatorial exercise in narrative control, measured intimacy and reverence. Don’t expect bombshell revelations or papal talking heads. Half the time it’s a useful portrait – a gift for fans, actually – backed up by rare moments of unaltered reflection.

Half the time

The bottom line

An airy doc with some heartfelt moments.

Place: Tribeca Film Festival (opening night)
Release date: Tuesday June 14 (Netflix)
Director: Amanda Micheli

1 hour and 35 minutes

The fast-paced document traces Lopez’s life in 2019, an important year in the star’s career. It was her year of her Grammy Motown tribute, her year of her extraordinary performance in Cheatersof her Super Bowl halftime show, the return of her iconic variegated green Versace dress.

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It was also the year the star turned 50, a merciless age for American women in the public eye. Half the time opens with Lopez surrounded by her team, friends and family for a birthday party. “It looks no different than any other birthday,” JLo tells the camera as she strokes the gold and purple feather headband atop her head. “I really feel my life has just begun.”

And it was … more or less. After more than 20 years in business, Lopez was about to reach one of the best professional peaks of his life. Success was fostered, as the star repeats throughout the film, by a growing self-awareness and understanding of oneself. Before the title falls, Half the time flash-forward of a montage of Lopez preparing for his Super Bowl performance, which he describes via voiceover as “an incredible opportunity to show the world who I am”.

The question of “who” brings the doc back to Lopez’s roots. A very short journey into her memory reveals that Lopez never considered herself a singer, that she loved musicals (especially History of the west side) and who admired Rita Moreno. She knew from an early age that she wanted to do everything: dance, act And to sing. Dance first enchanted her. She got distracted at school and her grades presumably slipped. Lopez recounts in vague terms about her having her explosion with her mother, simply saying that her argument led her to leave the house and act alone. She got a gig as “Fly Girl”. In Bright Colors. Subsequently, she began taking acting lessons.

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Finding a path to acting proved difficult. At every step, Lopez was greeted with closed doors and comments like “You’re not an actor”. But she was adamant and her determination ultimately led to success. She was hired Selena in 1997, he earned acclaim for his work alongside George Clooney in Steven Soderbergh’s Out of sightand eventually became a major star in romantic comedies The Wedding Planner And Waitress in Manhattan. While she broke box office records, she devoted herself to singing, recording several hit albums.

Half the time runs through Lopez’s rise to fame, often interrupting that narrative to focus on the artist’s present-day trials and achievements. The doctor postulates Cheaters and the Super Bowl halftime show themselves as indicators of critical success. After years of not being taken seriously, of being labeled a “diva”, of inadequate jokes about her body, Lopez was finally getting her due.

But that shot invites a certain amount of elision and feigned ignorance, especially when it comes to elusive concepts of identity. The weakest points of Half the time are when the doctor and his subject try to talk about politics. In the Super Bowl halftime announcement, Lopez says, “It was actually really late for them to pick an artist, so it was weird. Something weird was going on.” That “oddity” was the racism and the growing backlash the league faced for its lack of diversity. On planning the message behind her show: “I don’t like politics, I’m not that person, but I was living in the United States that I didn’t recognize.” Again, a strange claim considering that her performance – with babies emerging from cages, American and Puerto Rican flags sewn into the same fabric and her daughter Emme singing “Born in the USA” – included several motifs. politicians. Perhaps these moments are the product of poor editing choices, but they create confusion for a documentary so openly about a star that she seems to come to terms with herself.

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Self Half the time he misses the opportunity to show Lopez that he comes to terms with politics, especially racial politics, he manages to convey how much work he puts into every aspect of his life and career. The most honest – and even emotional – parts of the film are during Lopez’s promotional tour Cheaters: At festivals, during press conferences and in interviews, you can see how excited Lopez is about the reaction to her shift and to the film in general. The praise of the critics, coupled with her commercial success, gives her visible hope and confidence in her talents. This makes it even more heartbreaking to see her repeatedly lose to others, before her at the Golden Globes (Marriage story‘s Laura Dern won) and then the morning of the Oscar nomination

But five decades of life, two of which he spent in show business, gave Lopez a healthy outlook and a deep sense of gratitude. Half the time it includes moments of disarming sincerity, when it seems that the doctor and his subject, despite their caution, are truly searching for the truth.

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