The best thing, worst thing, and main thing about the boy band documentary “One Direction: This is Us” in about the time it takes to watch the trailer.
First I like the Justin Bieber movie and now this?
“One Direction: This is Us” is a quote unquote “rock doc” that follows the English boy band One Direction’s meteoric rise to fame over the past three years. It’s directed by documentarian Morgan Spurlock who you may remember from “Super Size Me” a few years back. So yes, the man who tried to get you to hate cheeseburgers is now going to try and get you to love a boy band. And you know what he might just succeed.
Yes, here we go again, but I have to be honest, I really enjoyed this movie. No, it’s not because of how mysterious Zayn is or how dreamy Liam is, although I’m sure he is. NO, it’s because it’s a really well made look into the lives of five genuinely entertaining and personable lads from England that know how to sing catchy melodies. Here’s the thing about these pop music documentaries (and it’s true about the Bieber and Katy Perry ones as well) When you start to see these musicians as human beings it’s much harder to be dismissive of their pop success. It really shines a light on our tendencies to tear down those who make it big, just because we don’t get it, and before we really know anything about the people behind the image. Say what you will but seeing these guys laugh about how they can’t dance, or play conductor with the large crowds that followed them everywhere, or how they were formed on the British version of “X Factor”, these are the best parts of the movie. There’s an especially deep moment with the guys around a campfire talking about the fleetingness of fame and what the rest of their life will be like that shows a real wisdom and strength of character I just didn’t see coming. (It be nice if that showed up in the lyrics of their music occasionally, but I digress) These guys are so likable you just can’t help but come away with a bit more understanding why their young female fans follow them to the ends of the earth…. a bit… I should also mention that Spurlocks’ deft touch is on all of this, including some really cool visuals (and yes I would recommend seeing 1D in 3D not 2D) and there’s even some pretty funny pranks he helps the guys put on, most of which are featured in the credits. Of course, it’s not like putting a movie like this together has a high level of difficulty. Anytime you are ready to transition, just throw in a song from a concert! Speaking of which…
That’s probably the worst thing. When the boys are on stage all the reality of their background is traded for the over produced stage antics and cheesy pop lyrics. Of course, really, what do I expect? I’m pretty sure the tween girls I shared my theatre with (whose parents, by the way, were keeping a very steady eye on me) would have rioted if these sections were left out, so I get it. Plus I didn’t know I was beautiful… and now I do… so there’s that.
Truth is, who knows what the future holds for these five British boys, but thanks to their natural wit and charm and the smart hand of Morgan Spurlock, even if you don’t like their music, you may just enjoy this movie. One Direction: This is us, is a B+
Thanks so much for checking out this Your Movie Friend review! If you want to know more about YMF or search for a specific review you can go to your movie friend dot com. Also, I’d love for you to subscribe on YouTube so when new reviews are out you get to see them first. Just hit that big gray subscribe button now.