‘Halftime’ review: A compelling Netflix documentary about Jennifer Lopez

Tribeca: The worldwide icon would possibly simply present what she desires in an Amanda Micheli documentary on Netflix, however even that is usually cool sufficient.

It is easy to smile in the course of the opening moments of the Amanda Mitchell Present”half time. “We’re watching Jennifer Lopez, a world icon and multi-hyphenated expertise, able to carry out on the 2020 Tremendous Bowl halftime present—good make-up, huge hair, shiny outfits, and cheery crowds—as her vocal narration laments her perpetual quest to look, to be heard, taken without any consideration. Grandpa. Seen? he heard? Taken critically? Hey lady, you’re a big star!

The documentary additionally desires to inform us that, as Lopez as soon as mentioned, she’s nonetheless solely Jenny from the block. The good shock and delight of Michelle’s simple narration is that, because of intimate entry and clever enhancing, we sympathize with Lopez’s obvious case of imposter syndrome. For the performer – and in some unspecified time in the future, for her viewers – it is very actual. Even together with her present streak of awards and successes, Lopez has by no means misplaced her want to succeed (or, apparently, gained the flexibility to settle into feeling that success). If somebody as gifted and pushed as Jennifer Lopez thinks she’s lower than snuff, we’re all screwed.

The title of the documentary refers back to the icon’s astounding show assembled on the 2020 Tremendous Bowl, however in fact it is also about her life as she celebrates her fiftieth birthday in the course of the movie’s opening credit. She tells family members that she “appears like her life is simply starting.” Or perhaps solely half is over? Right here hopes! Micheli traces Lopez by way of a touching yr, starting in July 2019 earlier than progressing six months when Lopez finds herself navigating between the Hustlers Awards marketing campaign and the fast-paced preparation of the halftime present.

There isn’t any doubt that Lopez’s issues are champagne-type – “Will I get an Academy Award nomination?” She actually is the peak of upper-class fears – however Lopez feels deeply the necessity to show herself in order that her fears can finally develop into a real drama. Michelle’s movie is lower than clever, affected by restricted dialogue heads (principally Lopez’s enterprise companions and her mom, briefly), random recollections, episodic archival footage, and a sequence of brief sequences that might body their very own movies (particularly quick-cut clips about Lopez’s early years, treats with the press, the obsession together with her physique, the fixed curiosity in tabloids), however none of that could be a draw: she’s Lopez.

There’s by no means a second when Lopez is not on display screen, from interviews to behind-the-scenes footage that tracks all the things from costume fittings to bounce observe, her try to juggle being a mom together with her phenomenal profession, to an inspiring go to to the physician begging for her. you are gradual. Looming prep for Lopez’s first half looms, however there’s nothing as basic as her lengthy marketing campaign for awards for her work on the incredible “Hustlers” by Lorraine Scafaria (additionally produced by Lopez), which many consider would earn her an Oscar nomination. You understand the place this ends. It is onerous to smile at impostor syndrome now, is not it?

It is hardly a manufacturing of warts—even the moments when Lopez will get a couple of snippets within the service of her quest to do properly, doubtlessly leaving the viewers screaming, “Yaaaas, queen!” – However there are brief flashes of revelation. From the bruises lining her legs whereas studying pole dance for the Hustlers music to the lovable means he taught a routine to a gaggle of younger dancers, actually Lopez appears to be deeply human. A quick scene through which her cheerful pals and workers ship the glamorous Lopez to the Golden Globes, the place everyone knows she’s going to lose, actually stings.

Anybody searching for J-Lo’s gossip can be dissatisfied – whereas the film covers a interval when the star was engaged to Alex Rodriguez, it solely seems briefly in a swish montage through which Lopez clearly says the one factor she’ll share about her love life is that she needed to study to be there. For herself first, to develop into her house earlier than searching for one other house. (Lopez’s present fiancé, Ben Affleck, already seems because the discuss present host for one phase solely, shares his expertise understanding why the press may be so evil for Lopez: “She mentioned, ‘I am Latin. I am ladies.'”)

Extra thrilling are Lopez’s experiences placing collectively the halftime present, a serious occasion that, frankly, appears damned proper from the beginning. Lopez’s superpowers (properly, considered one of them) is her consciousness of what folks consider her — or maybe extra clearly, what folks suppose they will get out of. When the NFL wanted to indicate its purported patronage of individuals of colour after a lot of controversies (Colin Kaepernick seems early on, as are the clips about then-President Trump’s ardour for wall constructing!), they tapped J-Lo for his or her halftime present. Then additionally they made use of Shakira, they usually assume that is occurring two Latinas have been higher.

Lopez sees by way of. It is low-cost, it hamstrings, and it is by no means been accomplished earlier than, which means neither star has ever gotten the total time beforehand allotted to different majors. Heck him. Lopez makes an attention grabbing show—at the same time as she splits time equally with Shakira, who comes and goes all through the doc—that carries a giant political message (admittedly too new to her) when she decides to flood the sector with a bit of bit. Women in cages. It is not correct, however when was Lopez correct?

The movie ends, hysterically and fittingly, with an inventory of Lopez’s present accomplishments, from her report gross sales to her present philanthropic endeavours. She deserves these flowers–and extra.


Halftime premiered in 2022 Tribeca Movie Pageant. It can begin streaming on Netflix on Tuesday, June 14th.

Participation: Keep up-to-date with the newest films and TV information! Subscribe to our e-mail newsletters right here.