Katy Perry: Part Of Me 3D is more than just a concert movie – it’s a backstage pass to Perry’s life and career. The film follows Perry as she embarks on her biggest tour to date and she struggles with exhaustion and the breakdown of her marriage to comedian Russell Brand.
As well as enthusiastic performances set against bright fairytale backdrops and whacky candy-pop costumes, the film also charts Perry’s early career, featuring a number of interviews with Perry’s family, friends and entourage. The film highlights that, contrary to popular belief, Perry was not an overnight success and one of the most interesting elements of the film explores her struggle in a number of failed signings. Interviewees describe how Perry was coaxed into imitating other artists while she protested, ‘I just want to be the first Katy Perry’. Here we see Perry’s strength of character and the beginnings of the Katy Perry brand. But while this look at her early record deals offers a concise insight into the pop business, Perry’s break with Columbia and subsequent move to Capitol is not clearly explained. The opportunity for an in-depth look at the music industry is sadly missed.
Another key theme that Part Of Me draws our attention to is Perry’s family life, highlighting her beginnings in the gospel and Christian music scene. Although protected from pop music and popular teen culture by her devout religious family, Perry became heavily influenced by Alanis Morrisette, whose Jagged Little Pill album she first heard while at a friends house. Throughout, the film nicely splices together Perry’s influences and her performances. And provocative, attention seeking numbers, such as I Kissed A Girl, take on new meaning when shown alongside Perry’s youthful escape to LA where she soaked up experiences for the first time.
Part Of Me casts Perry in a very good light – as determined, hard-working and grateful. Perry is shown as very much in control of her own image, rather than as a puppet of label moguls, with her faith in fresh, untested talent (including her fashion stylist and make-up artist) helping to create her own brand and vision. Fans highlight how Perry’s music has empowered them to be individuals and to have faith in themselves but, fortunately, out-and-out back scratching is kept to a minimum and interviews with current music peers discussing Perry’s success are scant.
Part Of Me succeeds in highlighting the ugly reality behind headlines that so often turn celebrity relationships into public entertainment
It’s easy to be skeptical about this type of movie, seeing it as cleverly orchestrated propaganda for the Katy Perry brand and there’s a fare amount of trumpet blowing. But even if we assume that the content has been carefully controlled by Perry and her team, this film does feel honest and intimate as it lets the audience in on Perry’s private life as events unfold. Russell Brand is not erased from the film and Perry does not back track on her feelings for him. Neither does Part Of Me overtly criticise Brand. It is always clear that this is Perry’s perspective and the emphasis is upon Perry’s reaction to the breakdown of her marriage rather than the cause of it. Part Of Me succeeds in highlighting the ugly reality behind headlines that so often turn celebrity relationships into public entertainment.
Ultimately, what Part Of Me highlights is the stress and strain of a year long tour with meagre rest days that inevitably leads to emotional breakdown. The most touching scene comes when Katy masks her desperate sadness with a broad smile as she rises through the stage trap door to thousands of chanting fans. In an interview at age 18, Perry acknowledged that although she would like to be a leader, this comes with a lot of responsibilities. In Part Of Me, Perry is shown to adhere to these responsibilities even during her lowest moments – something that makes her very likeable. But, as she reminds herself that she has a perfect life and her triumphant anthem, Firework, bellows out, you can’t help but feel sorry for her.
VERDICT: ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪
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