Beyonce Documentary Is More Like 'Infomercial'

HBO piece doesn't deliver on its promise, say critics

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 15, 2013 12:01 PM CST

(Newser) – Beyonce promises to provide an authentic look at her real self in the HBO documentary Beyonce: Life Is But a Dream that debuts tomorrow night. Critics say she doesn't even come close, and they've got a common complaint:

  • "It’s an infomercial, not just about Beyonce’s talent onstage but her authenticity behind the scenes," writes Alessandra Stanley in the New York Times. It doesn't shed light on life as a celebrity, "but it does say a lot about how this celebrity would like to be seen."

  • It "plays like an infomercial," writes Glenn Gamboa at Newsday, and it "feels designed to make us want to buy more Beyonce stuff" rather than provide any real insight. And not one interview with one of her friends?
  • It's "more a commercial for all Beyonce has accomplished to date, rather than a true examination of who she is," writes Preston Jones at dfw.com. Yes, she has a right to privacy, "but pretending to pierce the veil of superstardom" without actually doing so is a real letdown.
  • "The documentary walks a muddy path between self-mystification and self-adulation without actually saying much," writes David Rooney at the Hollywood Reporter. "Rather than a self-portrait, this is a scrupulously processed diptych."

This May 7, 2012, photo shows Beyonce Knowles at a Metropolitan Museum of Art benefit.
This May 7, 2012, photo shows Beyonce Knowles at a Metropolitan Museum of Art benefit.   (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, file)
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A trailer for the documentary.   (HBO)

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