Halftime assessment: Energy of a cultural underdog

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“You don’t need to lose on this costume,” says a 50-year-old Jennifer Lopez to her staff whereas attempting on a Valentino robe – a golden bodice paired with an enormous gold-and-green bow, with a voluminous white floor-length skirt – she selected to don on the Golden Globes 2020. Lopez was nominated for the position of Finest Supporting Actor (Feminine) for her standout efficiency as a stripper in director Lorene Scafaria’s Hustlers and acquired the nomination 22 years after her breakthrough efficiency in Selena (1997). Hustlers stays her profession’s largest hit but after a spate of rickety comedies.

In Halftime, Amanda Micheli’s try and have fun singer-dancer-actor-producer Jennifer Lopez, the multi-hyphenate doesn’t stroll house with the hallowed trophy. She returns from the award present, doesn’t ponder over it along with her visibly upset supervisor Benny Medina, thanks her staff and is again to grueling rehearsals the subsequent day for her efficiency at Superbowl – the most-watched tv occasion of the 12 months within the US.

And it’s right here that issues start to get attention-grabbing in an in any other case very managed documentary that doesn’t converse with anybody past Lopez’s household and mates. Her fiance Ben Affleck makes a brief, one-line interview look, in what appears to be like like a rigorously drafted inclusion for consideration.

As for the attention-grabbing bit, Superbowl got here to Lopez in Trump’s America the place a wall was being constructed and immigrants had been being focused. The Puerto Rican in Lopez was offended, a uncommon first for an in any other case apolitical Lopez, who sang love songs most of her life and was good at them. In Halftime, she says, “I’m not into politics… However I used to be dwelling in a United States that I didn’t recognise. I used to be afraid for my youngsters, their future”.

So she determined to make a press release. Amid a contact from the Hustlers as she hung from a pole and amid a few of her large hits equivalent to I’m nonetheless Jenny from the block and Ready for Tonight, she determined to place kids, together with her daughter Emmee in lit-up cages on the primary stage, representing detention of migrant kids close to US borders. A day earlier than the present Nationwide Soccer League (NFL) wished the cages off the grounds. Lopez insisted, fought for the present to remain the identical, and bought her method. Although her time was halved with NFL additionally placing Shakira on stage, Lopez managed to claim herself and her political stand whereas the world watched. “It was an insult,” says Medina within the documentary, “to say you wanted two Latinas to do the job that one artiste traditionally has completed.” However Latinas had been commanding the stage in Trump’s America and in that second that’s what mattered. Her moxie might have come from the Bronx, the braveness was all her personal. The present is a coup, probably the greatest Superbowl halftime reveals ever, and that is when Beyonce was up on that stage in 2016. However Lopez, the powerhouse performer that she is, was made for this spectacle and her dominion is immaculate.

However whereas the movie celebrates Lopez, her profession, her music, the best way she crossed over, her successes, and her impeccable expertise, it doesn’t ever introduce to us the ’Jenny’ behind the glammed-up Lopez, the megastar. We get that peep when she says to her backup dancers, “It takes some time to heat as much as me,” however not a lot else. The truth is, typically her diamond-encrusted sip cup will get extra consideration than one thing gritty and actual from her personal life. Sure, there may be the reference to the ‘butt jokes’ in late-night reveals and South Park again within the day and the way the world of tabloids handled her unfairly, which they did, and the way she went by way of a part of diminished shallowness, however lots from her advanced life is left to be fleshed out. Her precise life story, the struggles, her music, and the media hype round her private life by no means actually makes an look.

In Halftime, when Lopez doesn’t get the Oscar nod for her stable efficiency in Hustlers, racism is hinted at. After which, minutes later, we’re at Joe Biden’s inaugural ceremony, as Lopez wearing all-white – the color of ladies’s suffrage motion – sings Woodie Guthrie’s This land is your land, this land is my land… this land is for you and me together with the president’s Marine Band. She quoted from the Pledge of Allegaince in Spanish: “One nation, underneath God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”. Lopez, the cultural underdog, wins in that second. One needs that the movie on Lopez was half as dazzling as Lopez truly is.

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