Love, Lizzo review – a compelling and honest look at a top recording artist

By Nicole Ackman
Published: November 25, 2022 (Last updated: February 17, 2024)


Love, Lizzo is a beautiful look into the artist’s life story and the recording of her latest album. She opens up about her family, her struggles, and her career with a raw honesty that will make you love her even more.

We review the HBO Max documentary film Love, Lizzo, which was released on the platform on November 25th, 2022.

The latest in the wide array of documentaries about recording artists is Love, Lizzo and its raw honesty sets it apart from many in the genre. The documentary, directed by Doug Pray, examines Lizzo‘s life story from her childhood in Minnesota to the recording of her latest album, Special. Throughout the whole 90-minute documentary, Lizzo’s voice rings through and it’s hard not to get swept up in her big dreams and plans.

The documentary is told in roughly chronological order, starting with Lizzo’s birth in Detroit and examining her early years, from her discovery of her love of flute to her difficulties fitting in as a large, black girl. As it follows her through her career, from her time trying to make it, sometimes sleeping in her car, to the multiple bands she was a part of before breaking out on her own, it also goes back to the more current Lizzo who is working on her new album and trying to get back in the game post-quarantine.

Lizzo opens up about deep, personal topics like her father’s death and her relationship with Myke Wright. We see that she really is the bright, bold Lizzo that we see onstage and on social media, but that it’s just one facet of her personality. There’s also the quieter, introspective side who deals with self-doubt from time to time. We’re also given front row to Lizzo, the creative genius, as she writes songs and conceptualizes performances and music videos.

She isn’t afraid to discuss bigger, more politicized topics either, like the difficulties of finding acceptance as a big, black woman and the death of Breonna Taylor. She makes clear that her very existence, and her popularity, are politicized and that sometimes the backlash against her on the Internet can be challenging to deal with.

The film only briefly touches on Lizzo’s more recent non-music projects, like her shapewear brand Yitty and her television show, Watch Out for the Big Grrrls. It’s clear that these are included not as advertisements, but to show how they fit into Lizzo’s larger mission to provide the positive representation for big, Black girls that was missing when she was young.

But aside from the interview clips and footage following her around in her life, it’s also amazing to see the glimpses of her performances and the behind-the-scenes preparation for them. As with any artist, getting insight into her process is illuminating. There is a section on “twerking,” and its origins versus its portrayal in the mainstream media that was eye-opening for me.

The film is succinct and certainly leaves out parts of her life; she’s entitled to her privacy where she can maintain it. But it was a lot more honest than I expected, even dealing candidly with her reunion with her ex-boyfriend Myke and their giving it a second try. Throughout the film, we get to cheer on her successes and mourn her losses alongside her.

Fans of Lizzo’s will gain a new understanding of her through Love, Lizzo, and those who are not as familiar with her will likely be convinced to give her music another listen. It’s a beautiful companion piece to Lizzo’s latest album and will make everyone believe in Lizzo’s talent and mission.

What did you think of the HBO Max documentary film Love, Lizzo? Comment below.

HBO Max, Movie Reviews, Streaming Service