Demi Lovato’s Simply Complicated: Was it worth watching?
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By Jacqueline Cho and Cindy Guan, staff writers
Demi Lovato’s official documentary Simply Complicated was uploaded on Youtube on October 17, 2017, a bold move on her part allowing the video to be accessible to anyone who had internet.
Delivering a raw expression of the struggles she had faced during her early career in the entertainment industry as both an upcoming singer and actress, Lovato reveals the rollercoaster of a journey she had experienced with an intent to be as truthful as possible. In the form of an interview with Lovato and people who had been by her side as she was struggling with drugs and mental disorders, the documentary effectively conveys a realistic message of perseverance and a subtle apology to her fans and to herself for not being truthful.
Prior to watching the documentary, our expectations were relatively high; some of our friends and fellow peers had already watched it and praised it with high marks. We were already vaguely aware of Demi Lovato’s mental situation, memories of headlines about her rehabilitation and her previous documentary Stay Strong coming to mind. However, there was no need to question what was happening in her private life or what the media had covered on her in the past. Taking this as an opportunity to learn more about her as a person rather than an artist, we had expected to lose interest in it midway, but was pleasantly surprised by how her story had genuinely captured our attention.
The little details in the editing of the documentary accentuated her telling of her story at key points, while making sure not to dramatize or overly exaggerate it in order to keep the focus constantly centered on her words. Things that would seem minor, such as the background music and lighting, were essential in building and creating the tense mood throughout the documentary, which was something that we noticed that hooked us into watching the full video. The variation of different angles and cuts in interviews to show the perspectives of different people was something to compliment on because switching it up gave the audience more to see within a long duration of time.
The one aspect of the documentary that was the most impressive was the amount of home videos and old pictures they had. As Demi’s voice over recollected her memories of her childhood, pictures and videos of her family, her father, and a younger Demi would flash by on the screen. The fact that the producers and Demi’s family took the time to search for all that is evidence of how much effort were put into the documentary. However, some stories lacked in development in comparison to others. Maybe it was too painful or too private to share with the public but her relationship with Wilmer was glossed over. There were still some questions lingering about what she learned from being in that romantic relationship with her first love. If Lovato provided more personal insight on that topic, it would have quenched a lot of these questions.
If there’s anything to be learned about from film, it’s to not judge people by their cover. Cliché, yes, but Demi Lovato proves this trite saying right. Sonny With A Chance and Camp Rock are childhood favorites; her bright smile and how happy she seemed on screen was always her signature look. It’s crazy knowing during this time she started using cocaine and other drugs to escape her seemingly perfect life. You can still see the raw pain in her eyes as she tells her story in the interview.
The hype around the documentary was truly well deserved. The documentary was unlike other celebrity documentaries: Demi Lovato didn’t want it to showcase the picture-perfect life all celebrities supposedly had. She wished to show the world to embrace change and conquer the hardships life throws at us.
The documentary is great to share with anyone going through a hard time and needs a little picker-upper. Hopefully, they’ll realize life isn’t simple but it is just simply complicated.