Family movie night? There's an app for that
Download our new mobile app on iOS and Android.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Lovato talks openly of their struggles with drug and alcohol addiction and an eating disorder and how rehab and therapy helped them to recover; they also speak frankly of times they've relapsed and how they've bounced back after. They discuss the bullying they suffered as a tween, as well as their mental health struggles.
Positive Role Models
Lovato shows that issues with bullying, drug and alcohol addition, eating disorders, mental health issues, and a manipulative father addicted to drugs and alcohol can be overcome. They show and discuss the amount of hard work required to be successful in the entertainment industry. However, this is counterbalanced by self-centered entitlement and having access to the kind of help needed to overcome many of their challenges that most of the world simply doesn't have access to -- besides therapists and recovery programs, there are also nutritionists, chefs, personal trainers, etc. Literally one second is devoted to showing Lovato engaged in charitable work for the less fortunate, and it's not until the very end that there's any mention of Lovato's love for their fans.
Violence & Scariness
Lovato talks of the bullying they suffered as a tween -- they were "fat shamed" and called a "whore" by classmates at their school; these classmates also created a "suicide petition" in which those who signed wanted Lovato to kill themself. Talk of a time when Lovato punched a dancer from their show for telling their managers of Lovato's drug use.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Lovato openly praises casual sex. Talk of dating, sexual orientation, of having four different "suitors" at the same concert and how their personal assistant had to keep them all separate. Before going on a date and looking through their wardrobe, Lovato's assistant asks whether they want to "close the deal," to which they say yes. Talk of meeting a love interest in a club and watching him grope the breasts of the server while high on cocaine.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
"F--k" bleeped out several times. "A--hole" and "s--t" also bleeped out. Middle-finger gesture blurred out. "Piss," "bitch," "hell," "douche bag."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Tied to promotion of Lovato's album. Personal trainer wears a T-shirt advertising Muscle Milk. Commercial breaks during YouTube documentary.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Documentary opens with Lovato telling the interviewer that the last time they were interviewed, they were high on cocaine. Talk of cocaine addiction heightened by stylized images of piles of cocaine cut into lines with a razor blade. Mention of using cocaine, Adderall, Xanax, and marijuana. Talk of the manipulation Lovato engaged in while an addict and manipulation their father engaged in while he was addicted to drugs and alcohol. Social drinking at parties and at a nightclub. Cigar smoking.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Demi Lovato: Simply Complicated is a documentary about the Disney child star-turned-pop superstar. Early on, Lovato says that the last time they'd been interviewed, they were high on cocaine. Later, viewers see visuals of cocaine getting cut into lines with a razor blade. Lovato speaks frankly about the intense bullying they suffered as a tween; classmates created a "suicide petition" directed at them. Other topics include mental health, eating disorders, and how it was all magnified by the pressures of child stardom. The "it's lonely at the top" theme is heightened as Lovato discusses the hard work and dedication required to succeed in entertainment. "F--k" is bleeped repeatedly; other words include "bitch" and "hell." Lovato says they enjoy casual sex, and there's talk of how they want to "close the deal" on a date. While much of the film is devoted to showing how Lovato stays successful after their struggles, it also raises questions of how these struggles are different for people without access to support and resources like rehab programs, personal trainers, chefs, managers, and even therapy sessions. Some of the "real talk" about Lovato's problems is overshadowed by their pop-star life of clubbing, dating celebrities, and so on. Lovato is shown working in the studio and performing, but there's not much talk of actual music. At the end, there's a brief mention of their fans and literally one second showing them doing charity work. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This revealing YouTube documentary is sure to be popular with fans of the pop star, although music isn't the focus. Instead, Simply Complicated is about Demi Lovato the lifestyle, persona, and former child star turned mid-20s recovering addict who managed to overcome may challenges (substance addiction, eating disorders, mental health issues, bullying, a manipulative biological father) to live and perform in the way they want to live and perform.
Fans of Lovato will love their openness about their Disney-star past, their former boyfriends, and their present life as an outspoken pop star unafraid to discuss and reveal their sexuality. Cynics may wonder whether it's all a rebranding scheme like that of Miley Cyrus, another well-known child star whose image went from wholesome to provocative. Ultimately, the documentary veers back and forth between what Lovato chooses to reveal (they were also an executive producer of the film, which means they could say when "too real" was too real) and the type of self-centered entitlement the rest of us have come to expect from celebrities. It's worth mentioning that literally one second is devoted to showing Lovato engaged in charity work -- the only second of the movie not devoted to their life and career.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.