(2012)3Alaina O'ConnorThe 3D movie event is still a relatively new phenomenon following an era of music artists who aimed to please their fans with backstage passes and front-row seats. After the success of 2011's Justin Bieber: Never Say Never comes this documentary about the sugary, glossy pop stylings of Katy Perry. More than just a concert film, Katy Perry: Part of Me traces the trajectory of her career from a gospel artist to her present status as a pop singer and global superstar, while revealing the very real ups and downs as she's thrust into the spotlight and must deal with the effect this has on her marriage.
The film opens with interviews from teenage fans who listen to her music -- "influential," "comforting," "uplifting," and "fun" are just some of the words used to describe how her music has touched their lives. Next we see Perry embarking on her huge, yearlong California Dreams world tour, as well as her preparing for the opening-night performance. Taking a step back, the film dives in with home videos of a young Perry starting out as a gospel singer growing up in a strict Pentecostal Christian household, and later breaking free as she moves to Los Angeles and tries to break into the music industry. She isn't an overnight success -- she's dropped from a couple of different music labels on the road to making it big -- but through hard work and a little luck, she skyrockets to fame. The film also intercuts interviews from stylists, makeup artists, and set designers with backstage footage and home videos of an 18-year-old Perry who everyone says was meant for stardom.
The film is standard fare for the most part, following Perry as she traverses the world from one city of screaming fans to the next, but it's the second half of the movie that turns away from the candy-coated, sparkly world of the tour and faces a much more emotional story -- namely, the dissection of her relationship with British comedian Russell Brand. Their marriage fell apart in the middle of filming, and it's heartbreaking to watch as the cracks and eventual demise of their union come into focus. Directors Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz turn an emotionally charged situation to the pop star's advantage, using Perry's depression over her crumbling relationship as a catalyst to inject heart and honesty into what would have otherwise been a film only promoting the Katy Perry brand.
Part of Me is definitely for fans of her music, as it features live performances of "Firework," "Hot N Cold," "I Kissed a Girl," and of course, "Teenage Dream" -- all strategically placed to help tell the story. But, even those who wouldn't consider themselves fans of Katy Perry or pop music in general will fall in love with her infectious optimism and supercool big-sister persona.