Documentary Not Just a Girl | What’s up Shania?

After Janet Jackson, Sheryl Crow and Jennifer Lopez, it is another singer’s turn to undergo the documentary treatment in 2022: Shania Twain. Available on Netflix today, Not just a girl reminds us how much the Canadian artist changed country music. Too bad we don’t learn anything amazing or completely new.

Posted at 6:00 am

Marc Andre Lemieux

Marc Andre Lemieux
The press

Everyone knows the story of Shania Twain. MusiMax should broadcast his musicography in his best years around the turn of the millennium at least eight times a month. His difficult childhood in Timmins, Ontario, poverty, the car accident that killed his mother and stepfather, his difficult beginnings, his rise, fame, money, blah blah blah. The legend has been told over and over again.

The sequel has also been the subject of a large number of news reports, interviews and articles over time. Even Oprah Winfrey got into it. She contracted Lyme disease in 2003, and her divorce deserved an evil soap afternoon (her husband was cheating on her with – yes – her best friend), her voice deteriorating, etc.

In other words, our Shania-like culture was quite developed before we started watching the feature film, which was produced by Mercury Studios and directed by Joss Crowley, the man behind the recording of several music shows, including Elvis Costello, by Jeff Beck and Hall & Oates.

A title that raises doubts

Before we continue, a little parenthesis on the title of the documentation: Not just a girl. If you’re familiar with the 1990s, you’ll agree that this is an odd choice. It looks like the autobiography of another singer from that time, Gwen Stefani. We can imagine the ex-leader of the group No Doubt calling Shania Twain while furious for the next few days: “You stole my title! »

Also, it’s not until the very end of the film, just before the credits roll, that we understand why the performer of the hits you are still the one, That doesn’t impress me a lot of and Man! I feel like a woman! chose this option. It’s also the title of a new song she just recorded that should be on the compilation album that will go online this week.

Not just a girl also represents one of the themes of the documentary exposing the sexism that Shania Twain fought to break into country music.

Early in her career, when she tried to promote her debut album, TV presenters — primarily — praised her beauty. ” You are very beautiful. “It is a very beautiful record cover. »


PHOTO BY ALEXANDER HARBAUGH PROVIDED BY NETFLIX

Shania Twain is releasing a compilation album this week to accompany the documentary. Not Just A Girl (The Highlights).

Singer Orville Peck perfectly sums up the double standard that took place in 1992, when Shania Twain knocked on Nashville’s doors with her sexy outfits (that showed her navel… scandal!) and her need for self-determination. “Johnny Cash got away with singing songs about drug and alcohol abuse. The public accepted it. But when it was a woman, we wanted her to have good Christian values. »

“You have to work three times harder than any other man,” adds Shania Twain in front of Crowley’s lens.

With modesty

Not just a girl is very well documented. Archival footage abounds, such as that of an 11-year-old Shania Twain appearing on various local television shows on a budget.

Several key figures in the artist’s career also appear in the film, including Mary Bailey, her mentor and first agent, and Jon Landau, the agent she hired following the incredible success of the CD. the woman in me to become an international superstar who fills arenas.

On the page of big names from yesterday and today, who praise his achievements and underline his contribution to the industry, we mention Kelsea Ballerini, Avril Lavigne, Diplo and Lionel Richie.

Unfortunately, Not just a girl modestly tackles subjects to which the singer-songwriter has already opened up with greater dedication.

In her memoir, released in 2011, the singer recounts how she was physically and sexually assaulted by Jerry, her stepfather. She doesn’t make any reference to it on-screen, save for a statement she’s deliberately leaving open-ended that suggests – at worst – he was angry.

In her book, Shania Twain also describes much more bluntly the hell she went through when her husband and writing partner Mutt Lange left her. in the Not just a girl, this still painful chapter is only touched upon. The singer seems determined to keep things light.

Come to think of it, maybe the documentary should have been called A girl who just wants to have fun. So much for conjuring up another diva’s repertoire…

Not just a girl lands on Netflix this Tuesday

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