Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé

07 Dec 2023

By Contributor

This is a scene from the movie “Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé.” The OSV News classification is A-III — adults. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association. Photo: OSV News photo/Mason Poole, Renaissance. RIGHTS GRANTED FOR USE OF THIS PHOTO IN CONJUNCTION WITH COVERAGE OF THE RENAISSANCE WORLD TOUR. NO OTHER USE OF THIS PHOTO IS APPROVED.

Beyoncé Knowles-Carter has a lot she wants to say about her life and art.

Interestingly, much of what she wishes to share is not about her music or her recent worldwide concert tour. Rather, it concerns her moral views.

That’s the underlying message of the documentary Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé (AMC). Given that, in keeping with the movie’s subtitle, the singer and tunesmith both wrote and directed, viewers may brace themselves, going in, for a big-screen ego trip.

Fortunately, Beyoncé is far too savvy an entertainer and businesswoman to fall prey to such a temptation.

Instead, she matter-of-factly observes that since she’s 42 and the mother of three children and has been touring since she was a teen, she has some knowledge she’s able to impart. Despite the movie’s two hour, 48-minute running time, however, that includes little information about the wellspring of her artistry.

Nor does Beyoncé – “Queen Bey” to her fans – discuss the origins of all the lavishly choreographed numbers she leads or the dazzling costumes they showcase. As her tour unfolds from Stockholm this past May to Kansas City in October, the glitz and razzmatazz become numbing in the best possible way.

The star explains that her performances are both an escape and a release for her audiences. She wants those who attend the events – up to 71,000 at a time – to feel they’re in a safe space as they sing along.

To that end, the terms diversity and inclusion are not, to her, political buzzwords. Rather, they represent the way she proudly, and without fuss, conducts her business. Her backup dancers, particularly, are all shapes, sizes and ethnicities – just like those who come to see them.

Backstage group prayers are shown, and at another point, Beyoncé takes a side trip to visit relatives in Houston. Devotion to faith and family do not, however, prevent her from drawing on the drag queen subculture known as ballroom.

To undiscerning contemporary sensibilities, of course, this is just another instance of putting out the welcome mat. But the parents of youthful fans will want to be aware of this background in assessing how mature adolescents might be influenced by the picture.

Beyoncé may be a powerful celebrity, but she doesn’t win every battle. Thus, most of what had to have been a heated discussion is not shown after daughter Blue Ivy, 11, announces she wants to be part of the show. Mom explains why she had to say no – but not why the child eventually appears on stage with age-appropriate costumes and choreography assigned to her.

The film contains references to the gay lifestyle and rough language in some lyrics. The OSV News classification is A-III — adults. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association.

Kurt Jensen is a guest reviewer for OSV News.

Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé is showing at selected cinemas across Perth