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This movie most definitely is up to par with all of the other Lifetime channel biopics, meaning that it's not very good though and neither very interesting to watch. Not for the Aaliyah fans, nor for the more casual viewers.

The one big problem that I always have with these type of movies is that they feel like a 'telling of events', rather than a movie that is actually trying to tell you a story that is both engaging and interesting to watch. It feels like someone printed out Aaliyah's Wikipedia page and used it as a basis for the script. These movies never feel very well researched, not very insightful and always far too basic and respectful toward its main subjects. These movies will never say or do anything that is going to make its main subject look bad in any way because the movies are far too afraid to offend anyone and get into legal trouble with anyone over it. But by doing so the movie does actually still offend; it offends those who watch this movie and get presented with something that never gets interesting, engaging, surprising or insightful to watch.

Watch this movie and you'll learn absolutely nothing about Aaliyah's career, her music or her personality and personal life. Again, this is all because the movie is just a telling events and not one that ever focuses on setting up any good characters, build up some good drama or to ever have some surprising scenes or developments in it. It's an extremely flat movie, that basically does little to nothing with its story or characters.

I wouldn't even call this a very musical movie, despite the fact that it obviously still features plenty of songs in it. It however never feels like the core of the movie and neither does Aaliyah herself. This obviously is a big problem for a movie that presents as a biopic about a singer and performer. The movie lacks a good focus as well as a real point to it. Was it made to educate you? Was it made to entertain? Was it made to celebrate Aaliyah's life and career? I really can't give you the answer to that since I genuinely have no idea.

Things just happen in this movie, without a good build up of any sort. A direct result of this is that everything Aaliyah ever does comes across as effortless and everything just happens for her and goes exactly her way. It never feels like she ever has to fight or work hard for anything to achieve things. We don't ever see her train her voice, sweat, cry, fight, write her songs, develop her sound, choreograph her dances, or anything else along those lines. It's annoying to watch since not only does it make things look easy, it also prevents the main character from ever developing and going through some interesting transformations. She never runs into any real hard times or struggles. No, it's just basically a happy movie, that's not about the rise of a popular R&B artist and what this does to an average young girl (she only was 15 when her career took off) and her direct surroundings but a movie about an average girl, who remains the same average girl all throughout, doing nothing but average things, that just happens to make her successful and popular. But while watching this movie it never becomes apparent why she ever became such a successful and popular star and why so many people still mourn her less (that's not a spoiler is it?).

Of course the production values aren't too high on this movie (after all, it's a TV movie) but that really can't serve as an excuse in this case. Besides, it absolutely is the script, more than anything else, that makes this movie such an incredibly flat, dull and extremely forgettable one. Some of the actors still try really hard but there just wasn't anything good for them to work with.

4/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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