Beyonce: Life Is But a Dream

  • Review Date: February 17, 2013
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 88 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Entertaining docu fine for most teen fans; some language.
  • Review Date: February 17, 2013
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 88 minutes

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Beyonce gets across messages about hard work and determination, as well as introspection and thoughtfulness. She expresses the value of her belief in God. She also discusses issues specifically faced by female singers and performers in the industry, including establishing boundaries and performing while pregnant.

Positive role models

Beyonce is a role model to many and this self-produced documentary only reinforces her strengths as a performer, artist, determined business person, and also shows her handling difficult issues, including her troubled relationship with her father, in a way that is loving and respectful. She openly discusses her relationship with God and her belief in Jesus.

Violence

Nothing violent, but Beyonce admits to wanting to be angered before a performance in order to do well on stage. A miscarriage is discussed. Occasionally members of her entourage get a little testy and yell.

Sex

Contains references to making love. Concert footage features skin-revealing costumes and provocative dancing. Beyonce's pregnancy is a theme; sonogram footage is visible, as is a silhouette of Beyonce's naked, pregnant body (but no private parts are really shown).

Language

Words like "piss," "ass" and "bitch" are audible both in conversation and song lyrics. Curses like "s--t" and "f--k" are frequently used. Occasionally a rude gesture is visible.

Consumerism

Beyonce's music and concerts are central to the show and this is clearly a promotional vehicle for her brand. Apple computers are prominently visible; in one scene people are eating from a box of Cheez-Its.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Cigarette smoking is visible; wine is occasionally shown, but not really consumed on camera.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Beyonce: Life Is But a Dream is a self-produced documentary about singer Beyonce Knowles whose main areas of concern are edgy language (including "f--k" and "s--t") and mature themes, like pregnancy and relationships. Occasionally cigarette smoking and wine drinking is visible. A silhouette of Knowles' naked, pregnant boy is visible without any private parts in detail; concert footage features some sexy dancing and skin-revealing outfits, too.

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What's the story?

BEYONCE: LIFE IS BUT A DREAM is a documentary produced by and featuring singer Beyonce Knowles as she continues her music career. Viewers get to follow the artist soon after her controversial decision to end her professional relationship with her father, who up until then was responsible for managing her career since she performed as a member of the group, Destiny's Child. With the help of interview excerpts, video diary entries, backstage film footage, and some home video, she shares her thoughts about learning how to be her own manager, as well as the challenges she faces as both an artist and a woman in the current music industry. The unexpected news of her pregnancy also motivates her to share her feelings about being pregnant and later, motherhood. Throughout it all, extensive concert performance sequences are featured.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Like most celebrity-focused documentaries of this kind, Life Is But a Dream offers a chance to see a little of what Beyonce's life is like when she's not performing. It showcases the intense work that she puts in to recording music, dance rehearsals, and entertaining audiences. It also underscores how she is constantly challenged by her desire to juggle the demands of the industry with her private needs.

Despite the personal journey that it attempts to document, the actual amount of time it spends showcasing the singer's personal life, including time spent with her her husband, Jay-Z, and their daughter, Blue Ivy, is quite limited. Meanwhile, the singer approaches conversations about difficult relationships and other issues with grace and respect. Beyonce fans will definitely be drawn to this, but those who know little about her or her work may also be pleasantly surprised by what they see here.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why celebrities agree to be featured in (or produce their own) documentaries about themselves. Why do you think Beyonce decided to create this doc, despite the fact that she heavily guards her privacy? Is it an effort to control the way the media talks about her? An exercise in self-promotion? Or are there other reasons?

  • What is the difference between a documentary and a reality TV show? What are the similiarities? At what point are the lines blurred between the two?

Movie details

DVD release date:November 26, 2013
Cast:Beyonce Knowles, Jay-Z, Kelly Rowland
Director:Ed Burke
Studio:Columbia Pictures
Genre:Documentary
Topics:Music and sing-along
Run time:88 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Beyonce: Life Is But a Dream was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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