Maya has been preparing to tell her truth (and her family's, her county's) since her early days, but was always cock-blocked by the media during the time that she was supposed to have a huge spotlight. And after being left for dead in the music industry she has the time and the means to say it without being interrupted. It is a bit self-mythologizing, but it is her, nude and crude, the way it was always meant to be.
Great portrait of an amazing career. I'm still thinking about it the next day. Perhaps the only thing missing is a more thorough exploration of her development as a musician. We see her travel to Sri Lanka as a young woman - when her ambition is to be a documentary filmmaker rather than a musician. And then almost immediately afterward she is making music. I wanted that leap covered in more detail.
For some reasons this wasn't the expected powerhorse; this was a bit shy. I genuine like M.I.A. and i truly discovered her music after the "FlyPirates" controversy. The short runtime failed to cover the whole story and some episodes were just mentioned,not presented properly. What happened after AIM !? I wanted her point of view on some matters like the reception of the latest album and the "quiting music" thing.
Stephen Loveridge, close to his subject and w/ all that unexploited footage laying about, would almost seem to have had no choice but to do his due diligence and deliver us this benevolent testament to the vision and tenacity of Maya Arulpragasam. What can I say? I'm crazy about her. I feel assured in my conviction that those who find her unlikable are uniformly themselves unlikable. This is ecstatic patchwork.
Deeply personal inside look at MIA's off-stage life, her family background and phenomenal personal journey from childhood refugee to international superstar. The film also beautifully critiques with a middle finger celebrity, populist news and the mainstream society that laps it up. Deeply emotional and human. 4.5 stars
A very personal portrait about a very powerful woman, mother, artist, performer, activist, immigrant. Being without much prior knowledge about M.I.A. other than her energetic music and lyrical prowess - this was definitely a valuable insight into the realm of being a pop star and about the dangers of picking fights and trying to remain yourself while being a pop star. A film that only a friend can make of a friend.
I've been a fan since the MySpace days & while I enjoyed the film I feel that this story shows mostly things you can find on a google search. The story of her father and family's daily life back in Sri Lanka seemed so rich I wish the story lingered there more than on the narrative of the artist with an identity crisis. Also does "urban culture" mean black (Af. Am.) in the UK? The film seemed hesitant to call it that.
I came to this film already convinced that M.I.A. is a genius of global curation and an incredible enunciator of the English language. The film backs this up, and shows us an M.I.A. whose charm is palpable in inverse proportion to the vacant inanity of the Western media that mischaracterizes her at every turn. Renewed my love for an oeuvre which is entangled in the impossible task of making sense of one's identity.