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I’ve realized that I’ve spent more time trying to please other people the last several years of my life than I have really trying to make it what I want.
Demi in Dancing With The Devil

Dancing With The Devil is a 2021 documentary series about the life and career of Demi Lovato. Beginning on YouTube on March 23, 2021, it is set to cover a range of topics including Lovato's near-fatal overdose in 2018.[1] The documentary is titled after Lovato's song "Dancing With The Devil," which serves as the album's first official single.

Cast

Background

The series was announced by YouTube in June 2020, saying that it would "showcase the singer's personal and professional journey over the last three years". Michael D. Ratner was announced as director the same day. The series, which is made up of four parts, is a follow-up to Lovato's 2017 YouTube Originals documentary, Michael D. Ratner.[2] In January 2021, Lovato shared the title of the series in a social media post, exclaiming that "there has been so much that I've wanted to say" and she felt that this was the right way of doing so.[3] Lovato stated that she wanted to "set the record straight" with the series and shed light on the overdose and what led to it. She also shared a desire to help others who are dealing with similar struggles and keep herself accountable moving forward, something she found to be is helpful during the 6 years of sobriety which she maintained prior to 2018.[4][5] Lovato also said she experienced tremendous "growth" during her experiences, and was fundamentally eager to share that with others.[4]

Prior to the series' release, Lovato confirmed that not every topic will revolve around her substance abuse, and that the documentary goes beyond just her relapse and recovery, into previously unspoken traumas of her past as well as the music industry.[5]

Production

Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil is directed, produced and executive produced by Michael D. Ratner, executive produced by Lovato herself and Scooter Braun, Allison Kaye, Scott Manson for SB Projects, and Scott Ratner, Kfir Goldberg and Miranda Shannon for OBB Pictures. Marc Ambrose will serve as producer, and Andy Mininger, Arlen Konopaki, Jen McDaniels, Scott Marcus, James Shin and Hannah Lux Davis will serve as co-executive producers.[6]

Dancing with the Devil will debut as the opening night headliner at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival on March 16, 2021.[7]

Episodes

No. Title Directed by Original release date[8]
1 "losing control"[9] Michael D. Ratner March 23, 2021
Demi and her family and friends candidly open up for the first time about what led to her near-fatal overdose.
2 "5 minutes from death"[10] Michael D. Ratner March 23, 2021
Demi and her closest confidants give a firsthand account of the aftermath of the overdose as she wakes up in the hospital after being minutes away from death.
3 "reclaiming power"[11] Michael D. Ratner March 30, 2021
Demi goes to rehab and begins her road to recovery, but with bumps along the way. As she returns to the stage for the first time since her overdose, she needs to find balance in her life.
4 "rebirthing" Michael D. Ratner April 6, 2021
Demi Lovato’s explosive documentary series comes to a close with revelations about her broken engagement, her return to the studio, and exploration of moderation sobriety as she attempts to let go of her past and moves ahead living her truth.

Release

Similarly to Simply Complicated, the documentary features interviews with friends and family speaking of Lovato's near-fatal 2018 overdose and the health scares she experienced from the event. Elton John and Christina Aguilera also appear.[12]

Dancing with the Devil will debut as the opening night headliner at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival on March 16, 2021 before being released on YouTube on March 23, 2021.[13]

Critical reception

The docs-series received generally positive reviews. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 82% approval rating with an average rating of 6.75/10 based on 22 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads: Harrowing and heartfelt, Dancing with the Devil at times trips over itself, but there's no denying the power of Demi Lovato's candid courage in facing her demons."[14] On Metacritic, the film received a weighted average score of 73 out of 100 based on 9 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[15] Lea Palmieri of Decider gave the series a positive review, writing that Dancing with the Devil is "raw and heartbreaking and challenging to watch — which makes it all the more imperative that people do hear Lovato’s harrowing story".[16]

The Guardian writer Alim Kheraj gave the series 4 out of 5 stars, commenting that Dancing with the Devil explores the devastating consequences of living under the restraints of being a child star, and that "if the point of music documentaries is to humanise their subject, then Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil should become the blueprint."[17] Daniel D'Addario from Variety praised Lovato for her "outright shocking bluntness" and powerfulness throughout the series.[18] In a mixed review, Inkoo King of The Hollywood Reporter praised Lovato's brutal honesty throughout the series, but felt that at times the "honesty is sometimes undermined aesthetically by production choices ... at other times, Lovato’s openness is underserved by Ratner’s preference for momentum over proper contextualization."[19]

Rating the series a C-grade, The Playlist critic Robert Daniels complimented Lovato for courageously attempting to reclaim her agency but criticized the series for "falling into the same cycle of manicured myth-building [Lovato] had hoped to leave behind."[20] Scoring the series 2 out of 5 stars, Dewey Singleton of AwardsWatch stated that "the film comes off as more of a PR move than any deep dive into addressing her inner demons."[21]

Videos

Gallery

References

  1. Billboard - Demi Lovato to Revisit 'Darkest Point' of Her Life for 'Dancing With the Devil' Docuseries
  2. Vulture - A New Demi Lovato Docuseries Is Coming to YouTube to Break Us
  3. Twitter - There has been so much that I've wanted to say, but knew I had to say it right. DEMI LOVATO: DANCING WITH THE DEVIL will be streaming free on @YouTube starting March 23rd 💕
  4. 4.0 4.1 Cinema Blend - Demi Lovato Opens Up About Brain Damage And Growing As A Person After Overdose
  5. 5.0 5.1 Deadline - Demi Lovato Wanted "To Set The Record Straight" About Her Overdose In YouTube's 'Dancing With The Devil' Docuseries
  6. Deadline - YouTube Gets Back With Demi Lovato In Four-Part Documentary Series – Update
  7. Deadline - SXSW Sets 'Demi Lovato: Dancing With The Devil' As Film Festival Opener; Unveils Program Highlights
  8. The Futon Critic - Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil — Listings
  9. YouTube - S1E1 - losing control
  10. YouTube - S1E2 - 5 minutes from death
  11. YouTube - S1E3 - reclaiming power
  12. BBC - Demi Lovato 'had three strokes and a heart attack' after 2018 overdose
  13. Deadline - SXSW Sets 'Demi Lovato: Dancing With The Devil' As Film Festival Opener; Unveils Program Highlights
  14. Rotten Tomatoes - Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil: Miniseries (2021)
  15. Metacritic - Dancing with the Devil - TV Show Reviews
  16. Decider - ‘Demi Lovato: Dancing With The Devil’ Is a Devastating Docuseries About Addiction
  17. The Guardian - Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil review – a pop music doc of shattering candour
  18. Variety - ‘Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil’ Review: The Pop Star Confesses in a Startlingly Powerful Documentary
  19. Hollywood Reporter - 'Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil': TV Review - SXSW 2021
  20. The Playlist - ‘Demi Lovato: Dancing With The Devil’ Disappointingly Recrafts The Singer’s Image (SXSW Review)
  21. Awardswatch - SXSW Review: ‘Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil’ is more concerned about appearances than battling demons

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