Taylor Swift: Miss Americana

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Taylor Swift: Miss Americana Movie Poster Image
 Parents recommendPopular with kids
Savvy docu with strong messages for girls; swearing.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 85 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 14 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Swift's honest reflections are instructive, inspirational: finding approval from within, prioritizing what's important, dealing with bullies, recovering from humiliating events, handling concerns about body image. "I can't change what's going to happen, but I can control what I write." "When you derive all joy and fulfillment from the approval of others, one bad thing can cause everything to crumble." Emphasizes value of standing up for what you believe in, regardless of potential cost.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Swift is candid, thoughtful, persevering, kind, willing to take risks, respectful of her fans. She's seen successfully working through some substantial challenges. She's open to reinventing herself as she grows up, reflects, and moves forward with courage.

Violence
Sex

Provocative dancing/musical performances.

Language

Occasional profanity includes "f--k," "s--t," "slut," bitch," "jackass."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Moderate social drinking -- wine.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Taylor Swift: Miss Americana is a documentary about the singer's evolution from a musically gifted child to illustrious superstar. It's not a concert film -- only a few songs are filmed in their entirety -- but rather an intimate look at Swift's journey as she wants it told. She shares her ideas, her "moral code," her changing self-image, and memories of the difficult times in which she had to call upon both strength and insightfulness to make it through. There's lots of footage of Swift's approach to songwriting, and it's clear how intensely personal her songs are. The movie is filled with big messages that matter to girls and teens about self-worth, body image, coping with adversity, political engagement, and hard work. Though these mature themes are also relatable for younger audiences, there's a fair bit of swearing (including "s--t," "f--k," "bitch," and "ass"). That means that parents who might consider the language a deal-breaker for tweens have a big decision to make, because Swift has much to offer as a role model.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 9-year-old Written byK C. February 23, 2020

Not what I was expecting - definitely not for kids.

I was expecting a nice fluffy Taylor Swift documentary with the occasional F-bomb, but this documentary has an added element that noone else seems to have menti... Continue reading
Parent Written byd n. February 7, 2020

It's ok for younger kids, with a little bit of skipping over the bad words if you want.

I know a lot of people will say it's not ok because of some of the language, but there really aren't a lot of bad words used. They also seem to be in... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byHi_Ya February 8, 2020

Amazing!!!

This documentary was absolutely amazing!!! I definitely recommend this to anyone who has or hasn’t listened to Taylor Swift’s music!!! I would rate this 11 and... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byellamadd13 March 10, 2020
I'm a diehard swiftie. Taylor's incredible. She's also thirty. I wish people didn't act so surprised THAT A THIRTY YEAR OLD WOMAN SWEARS, it... Continue reading

What's the story?

From its early scenes -- home movies of Taylor Swift at the piano as a little girl entertaining loved ones with brash self-confidence -- to its final moments showcasing a grown-up well on her way to activism and self-awareness, TAYLOR SWIFT: MISS AMERICANA tells a very personal story. Swift's voice and director Lana Wilson's camera take viewers into the singer-songwriter's happiest moments as well as to times of her greatest vulnerability and sadness. Multiple sequences show Swift's collaborative writing process, the thrill she derives from performing, and the setbacks that she's had to overcome. As Swift's story unfolds, audiences meet her supportive family, her musical team, and her adoring fans, as well as some who've delighted in exploiting her.

Is it any good?

Swift's candid, unpretentious narration, as well as choice footage of her as a child, a teen, and a young woman, make this movie highly accessible for both fans and casual viewers. There's a lot to like in Taylor Swift: Miss Americana, especially for the girls who make up much of her international fan base. Swift talks directly to them. She describes the lessons she's learned, the successes she's had, the calamities she's lived through, and, most inspirationally, the hard work and resilience that it takes to rise above the heartbreaking challenges of growing up -- whether you're famous or not.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the intentions of documentaries: to inform, entertain, persuade, or inspire. Which category or categories best describe Taylor Swift: Miss Americana? Why?

  • Talk about the differences between "concert" movies and films like this one that show a musician's personal journey. Concert movies are prized because they bring shows to audiences everywhere. What benefits do fans receive from movies like this one? How did it affect your feelings about Swift?  

  • What valuable character strengths (e.g., perseverance, courage) does Swift rely upon to achieve her goals? Pick one of those traits and show why it was important. In what ways, if any, is Swift a role model?

  • Do you agree with the filmmakers' choice to include profanity in the film? It's likely that the goal is to show their subject authentically, but what may result from that decision in terms of intended viewers?

Movie details

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