Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me 2022 Movie Review Poster Trailer Online
Unlike her contemporaries, Selena Gomez has largely shied away from discussing her personal issues. While almost every aspect of her private life, including her relationships, has been widely publicized and scrutinized, Gomez was rarely part of that conversation herself, sidestepping away from centering her issues and instead letting her work speak for itself. But along the way, following a period of health issues that started in 2016, Gomez decided to switch gears, opening up about everything from her battle with lupus to her bipolar disorder diagnosis in an effort to raise awareness about those causes and inspire people who may be fighting the same battles. Alek Keshishian‘s Selena Gomez: My Mind and Me gives viewers an inside look into just how that decision came to be.
The first act of the documentary follows Gomez as she embarks on her sold-out Revival Tour, singing her heart out every night and greeting her passionate fanbase in a heartwarming meet-and-greet montage. Aside from a breakdown that takes place just prior to the start of the tour, spurred on by what appears to be a case of imposter syndrome (“You are your own worst enemy,” her manager Zack Morgenroth tells her as she second guesses everything from her tour outfits to the choreography), the rest of the US leg appears to go mostly swimmingly; Gomez, with fire in her eyes, kills it in the very little screentime dedicated to footage of the tour, demonstrating a clear love and passion for what she does despite an abundance of insecurities. However, somewhere along the line, something shifted; Gomez, who would eventually be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, decided to cancel the rest of the Revival Tour following a nervous breakdown that is never explicitly addressed aside from a few remarks here and there (“She told me, ‘I wish I was dead,’” says close friend Raquelle Stevens, while her mother, who only briefly appears in the documentary, says she only heard about Gomez’s nervous breakdown, which landed her in the hospital, after TMZ called her asking for comment.)
The proceeding two years pass by in a literal blur, as everything from Gomez’s lifesaving kidney transplant to the strides she makes in her career is glossed over; Keshishian apparently stopped filming following Gomez’s hospital stays and only decided to resume in 2019, as she was preparing for a philanthropic trip to Kenya in between preparing for the launch of her second solo album, 2020’s Rare. Gomez, a longtime supporter of the WE organization (which has since been embroiled in controversy following outcries of corruption, something she addresses in the documentary itself), decided to pay a visit to the schools and colleges built by WE in Kenya, the funding of which she was partly responsible for herself. Once there, Gomez discovers a newfound passion for philanthropic work, and she vows to make quarterly trips back to Kenya and other places in order to further explore what she perceives to be her primary purpose. But a short few months later, the entire world gets shut down following the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Gomez is forced to confront a past she hasn’t fully reckoned with (“I want nothing more than to not be my past,” she says at one point. “But it just keeps coming back.”) in order to properly heal.
Clocking in at a lean 95-minute runtime, My Mind and Me never overstays its welcome – and as a result, it feels like Keshishian and Gomez barely scratch the surface of her tumultuous 6-year journey. While Gomez has never been this raw or brutally honest, there is the sense that we are not truly getting the full picture. That is through no fault of Gomez’s own, however; she discusses everything from her fight with body dysmorphia to her frustration with her career to her mental health issues explicitly and candidly, never shying away from her truth. Keshishian, however, has said that an extended 3-hour-and-a-half-cut of the documentary exists and it clearly shows; at times, My Mind and Me feels like a series of vignettes – the Revival Tour sequence, Gomez visiting old friends and family members in Texas, her trip to Kenya, using her platform for mental health advocacy – rather than a fully-formed and fleshed out narrative. Despite those shortcomings, as My Mind and Me comes to a close, viewers will no doubt get a much deeper, more comprehensive understanding of who Gomez is as a person beyond her once very meticulously curated public persona.
While it is at times challenging to watch, My Mind and Me ultimately achieves its goal of humanizing Gomez by showing her in a new light, one that she’s undoubtedly never been seen in before. In a world where every aspect of Gomez’s life has been scrutinized and examined by the public and the media, My Mind and Me also allows her to reclaim her agency and present herself in her own words (the documentary is framed with a series of genuinely touching voiceovers from Gomez herself) and on her own terms. It does end, however, with a bittersweet conclusion; Gomez comes away more enlightened when it comes to her mental health but all of the fire and passion she once had for her career has evidently dulled. Gomez makes no mention of her acting career, which has reached new heights following her acclaimed performance in Hulu comedy series Only Murders in the Building, and the only time she mentions her singing career – aside from the Revival Tour sequence – is when she complains about having to promote her music (“It makes me feel cheap,” she says at one point following a radio interview. “I feel like a product.”) When the dust eventually settles, My Mind and Me, most of all, feels like an exploration of the devastating consequences of living under the constraints of being a child star, and a powerful indictment of the very same system that gave Gomez her platform but also failed to protect her in the process.
All in all, Selena Gomez: My Mind and Me is a powerful, devastating, and ultimately cathartic character study of one of the most famous people in the world. Gomez’s courage in sharing her story with the world is incredibly admirable and inspirational. However, the film falls just short of true greatness due to pacing issues and a condensed runtime that fails to give viewers the full picture.