Beyoncé is one of the greatest performers of the 21st century, and has been regarded as so for quite some time now. So, to be able to see her show and not only the show itself but the behind the scenes on how the tour was crafted, was truly a gift.
The film was directed, written and produced all by Beyoncé herself. An incredible feat but not surprising as she is such a master of her craft that it makes sense she would want to be the one to take control of telling her story.
Family is an integral part of this film. She talks about how “RENAISSANCE” was highly inspired due to her Uncle Johnny. In a special moment during the film, Beyoncé puts on the dress her Uncle Johnny made for her when she was younger, and it looks just as good as it did back when she originally wore it.
Another important section of the film is when Beyoncé discusses her daughter Blue Ivy joining her on stage. Beyoncé talks about how she originally did not want her on stage with her and did not know if Blue could handle it but after persuading, she let Blue join the dance rehearsals, and perform once, ultimately leading to Blue joining her mother for every show after that.
There is no denying how influential the Black, Latino and LGBTQ+ ball culture was in creating “RENAISSANCE.” With the album itself, the tour and now the film, this influence is all over. Whether its in the house music production that is on the album, or the ball inspired dance break during the tour and film, Beyoncé knows how to pay her respects.
There is a moment in the film where Beyoncé pays such dedication and time to the queer ball culture, that it feels right out of the 1990 documentary “Paris is Burning.” Many dancers are interviewed individually, and we are given a backstage look at some of their own histories and experiences with ball culture. There are countless queer icons of the ball culture in the film, including Kevin JZ Prodigy, who is the voice of “RENAISSANCE.” The film shows Beyoncé and Kevin working together as they put together the tour and you hear Kevin’s voice in many different areas during the show.
The documentary sections of the film also gives the audience a chance to get to know the other important people on the tour like the band, dancers, production workers, light crew, publicists and more. As much as Beyoncé knows her own power, she also knows how she is everything she is today because of those that came before her and those that help her. Its commendable to see her do this and you can tell its all genuine and just comes from her heart and who she truly is.
She talks about how there are three different sides or roles of herself that she has to put on: the performer, the businesswoman and the mother. It was remarkable to see her handle everything and do it all, sometimes at once.
There is a moment in the film where the power goes out during “ALIEN SUPERSTAR,” and in the few moments where she had to get off stage, she decides to change outfits and surprise the crowd when she goes back out. She knows her audience and knows that her shows are a sanctuary for many of the people in the crowd and wanted to make the whole show feel like a space where anyone could be themselves and be celebrated for it.
I love how the film shows Beyoncé in a light we have not seen her in in quite some time. She talks about how the album and tour were a new chapter for her, how she was excited to not care as much and just have fun. It is nice to see Beyoncé reach a point in her career where she does not have to care anymore. She says how she has nothing left to prove anymore and she’s right. I loved seeing this side to her because over the past decade, we have really only seen Beyoncé the artist and not Beyoncé the person.
The film gives everyone the chance to see how amazing she is at her job, she knows exactly what to do and how to do it. She gets vulnerable throughout the film when talking about her knee surgery she had a month before the tour, a vocal injury she had when she was younger and being a mother.
The film is gorgeous and has everything you would want from watching a film, not just a documentary or concert film. The film sounds amazing, Beyoncé’s gorgeous clear vocals over the pumping production makes the environment come alive, and was edited so well, showing her various costume changes within seconds. It has heart, laughs, tears, music, drama and much more. It feels like what a Best Picture nominee is to me.
Some of my favorite performances in the film were “ALIEN SUPERSTAR,” “PURE/HONEY” and “MOVE.” As someone who had tickets but could not go last minute to the Renaissance World Tour, this was almost even better in a way, and I can not wait to see it again.