Justin Bieber: Next Chapter
By Jennifer Green,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Musician talks God, relationships, suicide in short docu.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
If you believe in God, you have to trust in his plan for your life. Child stars need the adults in their lives to protect them. Marriage takes commitment and effort but offers stability and love. Nobody is perfect, everyone is on a journey. When we judge others, especially those in the public eye, we don't necessarily know what's happening in their lives or away from the spotlight. Relationships are more important than possessions or fame. "You don't have to put up a front" or "act a certain way" because "who you are is good enough."
Positive Role Models
Bieber admits it's an "honor and a privilege" to be able to keep working when so many have lost their jobs due to COVID. He vows he's in the best place yet in his life, feeling stable, secure, confident, and at peace, a place he's gotten to thanks to a loving relationship with his wife of two years, his belief in God, the privilege of a creative career, and solid friendships, including with fellow musicians, colleagues, and his pastor. Some of those friendships and working relationships are seen on camera to be very supportive, if entirely about Bieber. Adults who oversaw the singer's early career talk about how worried they were about him, which could raise questions about their role and responsibilities. Bieber is very wealthy and seems to have people around him at all times. The singer wants to mentor other young stars to help them grapple with fame better than he did, as he does in the film with 18-year-old singer Eddie Benjamin, and he aims to relay a message of hope by telling his story, potentially making a difference in others' lives.
Violence & Scariness
Bieber talks about how mean people were to him when he was a young teen and newly famous. He says their taunts ("You suck!" "You look like a girl!") hurt him, and in response he was mean to others or acted out. He rebelled against people trying to control his life. He admits there were times he was suicidal, unsure if his "consistent pain" would ever go away. Colleagues admit they worried about him in the past. He says the new rose tattoo on his neck signifies beauty but the thorns also symbolize the "rough spots" in his life.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Bieber and his wife are seen kissing and snuggling. A Vogue magazine cover shows them lying in bed with his hand placed suggestively on her chest. Lyrics to songs discuss kissing and dating other people.
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"Dope," "pimps," "damn," "suck."
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Products & Purchases
The Bieber brand and music. People wear brand gear, especially Nike. We glimpse Bieber's Calvin Klein underwear below his baggy pants, and he's often wearing House of Drew apparel. Vogue magazine and Bare chips. His wife is a model and the couple live a life of privilege and wealth.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
While Bieber's past drug and alcohol use isn't directly addressed here, it's indirectly referenced and fans or viewers of his previous short documentaries will be familiar with the details.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that in the short documentary Justin Bieber: Next Chapter, Bieber admits he was at past points in his life suicidal. This theme is explored in his newly released song, "Lonely," about a 15-year-old boy struggling with fame (we see clips from the music video here). Expectant fans will jump on the YouTube release of this 25-minute piece, and they'll probably be relieved that Bieber's life has turned around, thanks to his belief and trust in God, a happy marriage, and a creative career. He says he agreed to be the subject of this new short film in order to share his message of hope. The film focuses quite a lot on his faith in God, his trust in God's plan, and the lessons he takes from Jesus's life. His pastor appears in scenes, as do colleagues and friends, talking about Bieber's emotional growth, past and present. Some language is heard in conversations and lyrics, including "dope," "pimps," "damn" and "suck." Fans will enjoy the insight into Bieber's relationship with his wife, Hailey. The two talk about the work that marriage requires as well as the beauty of sharing everything, including your weaknesses, with another person. They are seen kissing and snuggling in multiple scenes. Bieber's positive message for young people is to be yourself, believe in your own value, trust in God, and listen to those who build you up rather than those who tear you down or try to control you.
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Justin Bieber: Next Chapter
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What's the Story?
JUSTIN BIEBER: NEXT CHAPTER is exactly that: a discussion of the latest phase in the 26-year-old singer's life, which he describes as his happiest, most stable and secure. It offers a kind of extension, or next chapter, following the 10 episodes of Justin Bieber: Seasons. The documentary will provide not just a reflection of Bieber at this new stage, but it could also serve as a time capsule for future fans of this year's imposed quarantine due to the COVID pandemic. This documentary was made during the eight months of "quarantine" at home after Bieber's tour was canceled due to the pandemic. Bieber talks directly to camera in interviews, and he interacts with friends, colleagues, and his wife. In the film, he's just put out new song "Lonely," which leads to conversations about his own difficult past, and he plans an appearance on Saturday Night Live. In a couple of scenes, he's seen writing a letter to his 15-year-old self, where he says not to let others dictate how you see yourself but to look instead to God's perfect love.
Is It Any Good?
The cynical view of a documentary like Justin Bieber: Next Chapter is that it's a blatant exercise in music promotion or narcissism (or both). But there's something so earnest in the way the young celebrity talks about his own growth and journey that it nearly cuts through any such cynicism. Bieber is only 26, but he's been in the spotlight for more than half his life. These documentaries seem to be cathartic for him in addition to providing fodder for his legions of fans, the so-called Beliebers.
Bieber and friends -- including his manager, producers, other musicians, his pastor and his wife -- sit around talking about, well, mostly Bieber, reflecting on his growth, his beliefs, and his hopes for what kind of a man he wants to be. (Side note: For a COVID quarantine, he's got a lot of people around him.) An especially interesting scene shows his manager, Scooter Braun, and others who've worked with him since he was a teenager, admitting how much they worried about him when he was younger. This scene raises some questions, which might prompt viewers to check out previous documentaries, if they haven't already seen them. But the kid seems alright today, and viewers of this documentary will wish him well.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the choice to film and talk about one's life, as the musician does in Justin Bieber: Next Chapter and previous documentaries. What do you think is his motivation?
The film shows snippets from Bieber's music video, "Lonely." What themes do you take away from that video? What other Bieber songs have autobiographical components?
Lots of people aspire to be rich and famous. According to this film, what do you think are some of the pros and cons of being a celebrity? Parents, talk to your kids about your own values concerning a family's financial needs and choosing a career path.
- On DVD or streaming: October 30, 2020
- Cast: Justin Bieber, Hailey Bieber, Scooter Braun
- Director: Michael D. Ratner
- Studio: Bieber Time Films
- Genre: Documentary
- Topics: Music and Sing-Along
- Run time: 25 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: November 2, 2020
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