Ariana Grande and her music never oversell.
She’s exactly how she markets: a mega pop-star with one of the strongest voices in the industry. Whether you like her or not just begs the question of if you can accept the relevance pop music has in our society.
"Ariana Grande: Excuse Me, I love you" follows Grande on her 2019 Sweetener World Tour and pulls performances from her show at the O2 Arena in London, which was one of five sold-out shows. The 97-minute documentary shows Grande backstage and on the road with an array of close friends, that include dancers, stylists and of course, her manager, Scooter Braun.
Films like this often succeed in their strategy to portray the famous and untouchable as someone you’d want to hang out with. For Grande, she’s rarely had a say in her own story so “Excuse Me, I Love You” serves as a nice reminder that behind every pop-anthem, there’s an honest person with their own truth to tell.
Throughout the film, we see Grande react with joy as the news of Trump’s impeachment goes public. We watch her harmonize with Mariah Carey, recount funny stories with close friends and kiss and hug her mom goodbye.
For fans, the film serves as a silver lining in a tumultuous couple of years for the singer. She lost her boyfriend, the late Mac Miller, in September of 2018. Grande then broke off her four-month engagement to Pete Davidson a month later in October. And all of this follows the Manchester Arena bombing that took place at Grande’s show in May 2017, which took 23 lives.
While her bubbly aura might suggest that her career has only been on the uptick, her personal life tells a more somber story, one that many people forget. “Excuse Me, I Love You’ highlights Grande’s resilience and teaches us the lesson that there’s always more to it than what reaches the eye.
Grande is said to be too scandalous and a bad role model for young girls. This is a common critique in an industry that indulges in mysogynistic standards and lets men off the hook without hesitation. But, Grande is happy to even the playing field and create music that excites the masses and dances on lines many are scared to touch. In songs like “god is a woman” and “needy,” Grande retells a male-dominanted tale that shifts focus to women and their not-so-sorry behaviors.
In “Excuse Me, I Love You,” Grande wants to do nothing but tell an honest narrative and have a good time while doing it. With epic stage-design and alluring choreography, the documentary allows viewers to understand what it’s like to follow Grande along this ambitious journey. Not to mention, “sweetener” is an empowering, bop-after-bop kind of album, the kind that belongs on a stage.
As one of the biggest pop-stars in the world, her fame allows for no boundaries. We would hope her tour is nothing short of the promised pop-spectacle so many would expect.
*Spoiler alert; it exceeds all expectations.
Whether or not you find yourself shuffling her discography or defending her online, “Excuse Me, I Love You” is a cheerful and upbeat concert film that makes us remember what it’s like to be in an arena full of people.
An ode to live music, “Excuse Me, I Love You" puts Grande's stardom on display and at the very least, will make you want to get up and dance.
“Excuse Me, I Love You” is now streaming on Netflix.