Growing up within a religious family, Perry was surrounded by gospel music. She had a talent for writing her own material yet was never allowed to express herself within mainstream music. Things changed once she obtained her independence and moved to Los Angeles. It’s no surprise that there were struggles on her way: record labels tried to make Perry into an artist she wasn’t, yet she fought her corner and once she had signed with Capitol success followed quickly.
The main priority of Part of Me is Perry’s fans, and you have to admire her dedication to them. Video clips from devotees state the reasons why she is a big part of their lives. The most popular answer is her lyrics. They speak to individuals and inspire them, and Perry herself wants to send out a positive message. She wants you to be yourself.
The film is an interesting look at who Perry is as a person. It’s not all about her vibrant concerts. Her California Dreams Tour, which the film follows, took up a year of her life and even during her low points (her separation from husband Russell Brand) she puts on smile and performs at her best. It’s an emotional journey, her tiring and gruelling schedule exerts a toll on her and her marriage, but she fights to keep the spark alive by constantly jetting off to see Brand. This documentary doesn’t dramatise the situation, we she her in a vulnerable state but it’s subtly done.
As personality goes, she’s a blast. Perry doesn’t try to be someone else; she embraces her inner geek and her childish ways, and people around her evidently enjoy it. She brings immaturity to her concerts with lively fairy-tale settings, colourful palettes and childlike outfits. It’s all in the name of fun and her musical numbers certainly look great.
Her music may not be to everyone’s taste but the songs are personal and heartfelt. Perry’s enthusiasm certainly goes toward a good show and the film, as a whole, is well cut together with music, behind the scenes footage and interviews from the star herself, her family and her friends and colleagues. The 3D is playful, though unnecessary.
This is a moving and absorbing documentary, admittedly for the fans in the main, and it may not be to everyone’s liking but, for some, it will be a surprising treat.