Halftime review – a rousing success

June 14, 2022
M.N. Miller 0
Film Reviews, Netflix, Streaming Service
3.5

Summary

Halftime is a rousing success on how a global icon handles herself and never stops grinding for that elusive prize — respect.

3.5

Summary

Halftime is a rousing success on how a global icon handles herself and never stops grinding for that elusive prize — respect.

Netflix documentary film Halftime was released on June 14th, 2022.

There are currently a half dozen documentaries upcoming chronicling famous Americans during one of the most divided times in this country’s history. Netflix’s Halftime follows the worldwide superstar Jennifer Lopez as she prepares for the premiere of one of her most significant films, Hustlers, and performing at the Halftime of the Super Bowl. However, the documentary is an all-encompassing piece, where the narrative toggles back and forth from her start in the industry to her current career peak during “The Year of the Protests.”

Director Amanda Micheli (Double Dare) allows Ms. Lopez to open up about her struggles with fame, racism, and even some surprising revelations about her family life. One of them includes a startling revelation that her mother beat her four daughters to toughen them up. She admits she wasn’t the best mother. Even more eye-opening is how they move on from it without going into detail, as they have come to accept it a long time ago. It raises questions, but the sense of family and community is never more apparent as they sit at the Thanksgiving dinner table.

Her professional life also connects with themes of systematic oppression and devaluing people because of their race. Ms. Lopez received a Golden Globe nomination for her role in Hustlers. She was a surefire bet of landing an Oscar nomination — which would have been her first. Of course, we all know now in one of the biggest snubs in Academy Award history. (Ms. Lopez received an astonishing 32 supporting actor nominations that year from various groups). That year, of the 20 acting nominations, only two were non-white. After landing the halftime show, she has to share the stage with Shakira. And they need to share the same 14-minute set. The NFL wouldn’t entertain increasing the time for a proper set for each performer to make matters more problematic.

Yes, Halftime was filmed meticulously and supervised by her team. So, we know this won’t be a complete three-dimensional reveal. This may explain the lack of insight. The film could have used a deeper insight into family affairs and personal relationships. Perhaps, even a deeper dive into her early career to reach the top would have given the film added weight. However, that doesn’t make the documentary any less impactful.

For instance, Amanda Micheli does a wonderful job of showing the cruelness of late-night television, particularly the price of fame for a person of color. It arouses observations that she is being punished for her success and biology, all while forcing herself to put on a smile and sing for her supper to the likes of Jay Leno, David Letterman, and Conan O’Brien. Even pundits wrote she is “…far better known as a performing artist, reality-TV judge, and tabloid celebrity,” as if this was a legitimate argument to explain her shocking Oscar oversight.

Even if you didn’t know the ins and outs of Ms. Lopez’s life, Halftime is a documentary that builds genuine tension as it continues to toggle with the timeline. This leads to one of the most significant moments of her career, all during a period of great social unrest. As she knows, it’s not just about getting to the top. As a minority woman in Hollywood, it’s about staying there. The film is a rousing success by focusing on how a  global icon handles herself and never stops grinding for that elusive prize.

Respect.

What did you think of the Netflix documentary Halftime? Comment below.

You can watch this documentary with a subscription to Netflix.

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