Criticism | Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil is fragile and necessary documentary

In 2018, gossip websites and magazines from the United States and the world only talked about one subject: the overdose of Demi Lovato. The artist, now 28, has been suffering from drug and alcohol addiction since adolescence, in addition to dealing with eating disorders and rape cases. This whole story has now been told in a new documentary on the life of the artist called Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil, YouTube Originals production.

In English, the term dancing with the devil, “dancing with the devil” in the literal translation, is used to define people who exhibit inappropriate behaviors, which can be the most diverse. In the case of Demi Lovato, the term speaks of a person who has had a near-death experience due to self-destructive behavior that is out of his control.

In the documentary series of four episodes, the artist tells how the moments before and after she overdosed on heroin were, how she got to that point and what were the consequences left on her physical and mental health. The production aims to show the weaknesses of the singer, songwriter and actress, taking her from a pedestal of perfection and placing her as a person like everyone else, that is, a human being.

Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil it is probably the most personal documentary made to tell the story of an artist. The series diverts the focus from the music and life of a star to show its worst side, which has been known since childhood, when it presented a children’s program called Barney and his friends. The fame, for Demi, was extremely cruel and contributed to the addictions that she carries with her until today.

Production begins by saying that Demi’s relapse happened during the development of another documentary, which had its recordings and release canceled after the overdose. The artist herself says that her testimonies of overcoming were completely liars, giving a false impression that the addiction was under control, as well as her mental stability. In fact, it was more serious than ever. With this, the series shows that it is very easy to create a different personality in front of the cameras, be it a form of personal or professional protection.

Demi Lovato is not ashamed and embarrassed when she tells her story about drugs, alcohol, eating disorders and the lies that came with it, but the discomfort of “self-disclosing” to the world is clear. The episode that describes all the events that preceded the overdose is the most intense, mainly because it has testimonials from the people who helped her when she was found unconscious, and also from the family, who has always been feeling powerless in this battle. That’s when we discovered that the overdose was more serious than we imagined, with the singer’s life saved for a matter of minutes, and that the addiction involved extremely heavy drugs, such as heroin and crack.

It was extremely important for the documentary to talk about the consequences of the overdose, which left Demi Lovato with vision problems and unable to drive, and that the treatment required the recovery of practically all of her organs, which were going bankrupt. Bringing these points related to the severity of the addiction, not only in relation to mental health but also physical, coming from a person who is seen as strong by fans, is a great awareness service. If Demi, who has always seemed to be a happy person with a sense of humor 100% of the time, in addition to being extremely privileged with her talent, can take these risks, so can anyone.

The documentary series works in Demi’s own narrative, with the artist doing something that, perhaps, no advisory or crisis management would authorize in other times. Demi Lovato introduces the issues that will be addressed in the documentary, leaving the doors open for her team, friends and family to tell their versions and their views on the situation. Nowadays, addressing the weaknesses of an artist, as also happened in the documentary Framing Britney Spears, became the best option to talk to the press and fans. This decision, coming from the singer herself, ends up being an act of insurmountable courage.

The documentary series ends with a discussion for debate: how to get rid of addiction. While some people believe that the ideal is to cut even the lightest drugs and drinks, as singer and songwriter Elton John says in a testimonial for the documentary, Demi herself says she believes that the process should be slow, with the substances being cut gradually. Once again, she assumes the fragility and reveals that she remains a drug and alcohol user, but guaranteeing that she will never again come close to the drugs that almost killed her, unfortunately showing that the problem is far from being just history.

Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil is available on YouTube at four free episodes, with extra content for subscribers.

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