Six Things We Learned From the Beyoncé Documentary
Beyoncé’s highly anticipated documentary, Beyoncé: Life Is but a Dream, features a lot of performance footage, some childhood home videos, a glimpse or two of hubby Jay-Z, and even a close-up of baby Blue Ivy. So what did we learn? The pop diva has been notoriously close-lipped about her personal life in the past, and fans were curious to see how much would be divulged in the 90-minute exploration, which premieres Saturday. But while the star shares her heartfelt reactions to her pregnancies, performance anxieties, and more, she leaves plenty off screen. No huge revelations, then, but here are six things about B we learned a little more about.
1. The rift with her dad was deeper than we knew.
The documentary opens with the Knowles sisters as children, sitting on the front steps of their new home while their father videotapes from the street. But as we soon find out, their family portrait wasn’t as perfect as it appeared. Beyoncé says that she never got her father Mathew’s approval, and while she claims that “every time he pushed me, I got stronger,” his high expectations came with a price.
“Did you get your dad back?” asked an interviewer about her father after she cut her professional ties with him. “No,” she responded. “I had to sacrifice my relationship with dad. I had to let go.”
2. She talks to her computer.
Apparently being a superstar surrounded by screaming fans can get a bit lonely. To clear her head, and when she had no one else to listen to her, B takes to chatting with her MacBook. “Thank God for my computer,” says the star, who often films personal “video diaries” with her inanimate friend.
3. She had mixed feelings about being pregnant.
Beyoncé claims she was “scared to death” of being pregnant. She says her feelings were very different from those of many women, who say they were ready for motherhood their whole lives.
4. She wrote her ‘saddest song’ after her miscarriage.
When Beyoncé found out she had miscarried during her first pregnancy, she wrote her saddest song to date, a melody that begins: “I guess love just wasn’t enough for us to survive. I swear I swear I swear I tried. You took the life right out of me.”
In one of her video diaries, she confesses: “I flew back to New York to get my checkup—and no heartbeat. Literally the week before I went to the doctor, everything was fine, but there was no heartbeat.” She continues, “I went into the studio and wrote the saddest song I’ve ever written in my life. And it was actually the first song I wrote for my album. And it was the best form of therapy for me, because it was the saddest thing I’ve ever been through.”
5. She is a huge feminist.
Through songs such as “Run the World (Girls),” fans already knew about Beyoncé’s passion for women’s rights, but in the documentary, she speaks thoughtfully and candidly about the pressures women face and the inequality between the genders.
“Women have to work so much harder to make it in this world. It really pisses me off that women don’t get the same opportunities men do. Or money, for that matter. Money gives me the power to run the show. It gives men the power to define our values and to define what’s sexy and what’s feminine—and that’s bullshit. At the end of the day, it’s not about equal rights, it’s about how we think. We have to step up as women and take the lead.”
She also stresses the importance of strong bonding between women, saying: “I love my husband, but there is nothing like a conversation with a woman that understands you. I grow so much from those conversations. I need my sisters.”
6. She is very religious.
While most of the documentary uses backstage performance B-roll and already-seen televised performances to set the scene for B’s monologues, that changes near the end of the doc. In a simple sequence showing tall trees, sunshine, and grass, Beyoncé talks about religion. “God lives inside me,” she says. “Everything happens for a reason,” she says more than once. She uses those words when she finds out she is pregnant to question what lesson her pregnancy is supposed to teach her.