A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Lovato appears to be clear-eyed about the traumatic roots of their addiction and eating disorder, and they've put in the work to reclaim their life.
Positive Role Models
Lovato's sisters and friends are supportive and honest about how they felt being around Lovato when they were in the throes of an eating disorder. Lovato talks about the pressure on women in the music industry to look and dress a certain way that can create a damaging self-image.
Violence & Scariness
Lovato describes two rapes -- one by an actor who forced them into sex (they were a virgin at the time), and the other on the night of their overdose, when their drug dealer raped them and "left them for dead." The description of Lovato's overdose and their time in the hospital is disturbing and graphic. Lovato talks frankly about their estranged father's death (his body wasn't discovered for more than a week).
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
All content related to sex is violent in nature; see Violence for details.
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"A--hole" and "s--t" are heard, "f--k" is bleeped.
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Products & Purchases
Lovato has created a huge and successful personal brand across industries (entertainment, music, merchandise, fashion). But this docuseries isn't really intended to promote a specific project or album.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Though we don't see Lovato drinking or doing drugs, they, their family, their friends, and their staff describe their abuse extensively. Lovato talks at length about the various drugs they took -- meth, crack, heroin, fentanyl -- and their overdose is the focus of the documentary. They do talk sort of nostalgically about their pre-sobriety cocktail of cocaine and Xanax.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil is a brutally honest docuseries about the pop star's drug dependency, near-fatal 2018 overdose, and their reckoning with their traumatic past. Lovato and their family, friends, and staff describe the singer's rapid descent from their very public sobriety to taking heroin, meth, and more in the lead-up to their overdose -- and the anguish everyone involved felt at the time. The series spares no details, repeating many times that Lovato should have died -- and would have if they had been found just minutes later. Lovato's mother describes seeing her child on a blood-cleaning machine, with a tube sewn into their neck. Lovato enumerates the lasting physical impact of the strokes and heart attack they suffered. Lovato also talks about two rapes/sexual assaults. Many people in the series use swear words including "a--hole," "s--t," and "f--k" (which is bleeped).
Is It Any Good?
Watching Lovato and their sisters, parents, friends, and staff talk about their experiences with the pop star's addiction and how they supported Lovato is deeply affecting. Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil is a tough watch even beyond the singer's addiction and overdose -- your heart will ache for Lovato as they remember their father, who was abusive to their mother and an addict himself, then died alone. Lovato has battled eating disorders since they were a small child in pageants, then struggled to maintain their image as a Disney Channel star. They recount sexual abuse both as a teen and the night of their overdose.
This is tough stuff that's valuable as a stark reminder that the Instagram version of a pop star's life isn't necessarily telling the full story. The overwhelming emotion of the first two episodes is grief -- of the parents who didn't see the signs Lovato was struggling, of the siblings who feared they would lose their sibling, of the friends who have nagging regrets about their interactions with the pop star. Lovato expresses abundant gratitude to their doctors, family, and others who support them -- and for the time that the COVID-19 pandemic allowed them to process their experiences. Viewers will be grateful that Lovato shared their story and hope that they're on a healthier path.
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.