You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Life Is But a Dream

For those who can't imagine growing tired of Beyonce Knowles' flawless face (or the rest of her), try going 90 wearisome minutes with "Life Is But a Dream," a vanity project that puts tolerance for showbiz self-obsession to the test.

With: Beyonce Knowles.

For those who can’t imagine growing tired of Beyonce Knowles’ flawless face (or the rest of her), try going 90 wearisome minutes with “Life Is But a Dream,” a vanity project that puts tolerance for showbiz self-obsession to the test. Candid video, rehearsals, recording sessions, concert footage, and an extended minimal-makeup interview are cobbled together into this not-quite documentary, in which the singer grapples with success, and even shares her baby’s Ultrasound. “I always battle with how much do I reveal about myself,” she muses. Except for the most adoring fans, clearly a whole lot less than this.

Granted, it’s hard to second-guess HBO for catching hold of the Beyonce Express, coming on the heels of her widely seen performances at the Presidential inauguration and Super Bowl. In terms of exposure, the star’s flame has probably never burned brighter.

Still, with the star doubling as producer and co-director of a project ostensibly designed to share her innermost thoughts, having someone — anyone — empowered to say “Cut!” would have been helpful.

As is, Beyonce is left to mull the great mysteries surrounding the price of her fame, and the challenge, as an artist and person, of not becoming captive to it. Yet while these are legitimate questions to ponder, they’re also awfully high-class problems, interspersed with the little matter of when and how to reveal to the world she’s pregnant; breaking ties with her dad; or the fact that she really, really loves her husband.

Knowles references tabloid rumors regarding her that she attributes to the tendency to believe the worst about “crazy” celebrities. To her credit, she comes across as reasonably grounded and enormously talented.

Embarking on such a project is riskier than, say, simply agreeing to shoot a concert film. Having chosen to open up in this fashion, though, she ultimately doesn’t have anything particularly profound to share — including her ruminations on motherhood and faith. In that respect, “Life Is But a Dream” simply plays like a video diary, a less-salacious version of the brand of self-confessional “celeb-reality” shows overpopulating cable TV, albeit with lower-octane stars.

HBO is associated with aiming higher, but the only element within the film that screams “premium” radiates from the lady herself. Then again, by essentially writing Beyonce a blank check to do whatever she pleases, the channel’s brass are hardly the first people in Hollywood to make a bad decision when bedazzled by a pretty face.

Life Is But a Dream

Special; HBO, Sat. Feb. 16, 9 p.m.

Production: Produced by Parkwood Entertainment and Harbor Pictures Co. Executive producer, Beyonce Knowles; producer, Bill Kirstein; co-producer, Lee Anne Callahan-Longo; directors, Knowles, Ed Burke; co-director, Ilan Benatar; writers, Knowles, Benatar, Burke.

Crew: Camera, Burke; editor, Benatar; sound designer, Robert Hein; original music, Ben Salisbury. 90 MIN.

Cast: With: Beyonce Knowles.

More TV

  • Wendy Williams Sober Living House

    Wendy Williams Reveals She's Been Staying in a Sober-Living House

    Wendy Williams, during an emotional monologue on her talk show on Tuesday, revealed through tears that she has been staying at a sober-living house. “So you know me for being a very open and truthful person,” she began the segment on “The Wendy Williams Show,” fighting through tears. “And I’ve got more to the story [...]

  • Hong Kong Industry Executives Seek Clarity

    FilMart: Hong Kong Industry Executives Plead for Clarity on Mainland Chinese Tax Policies

    At a time of heightened scrutiny of tax affairs in China’s entertainment sector, even industry veterans in Hong Kong are struggling to figure out how to operate in the new financial environment and pleading for more clarity from the Chinese government. Hong Kong produces about 60 films a year, three-quarters of which are typically co-productions [...]

  • Michael Jackson R Kelly

    'Leaving Neverland,' 'Surviving R. Kelly' Composers on How They Scored Sexual Abuse Docs

    How do you put music to child sexual abuse — especially if the accused predators are musical icons? That’s the challenge composers Chad Hobson and Nathan Matthew David faced as they scored HBO’s “Leaving Neverland” and Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly,” respectively. The documentaries are built around interviews with the alleged victims of Michael Jackson (two [...]

  • Canadian Animation Shop Guru Studio Makes

    Canadian Animation Shop Guru Studio Makes Moves in China

    Guru Studio, an award-winning Canadian animation studio, is exploring the possibility of opening an office in Hong Kong or mainland China. The Toronto-based company is keen to get a slice of China’s animation market, which has been growing quickly. Louise Jones, Guru vice president of finance and business affairs, said at a FilMart panel discussion [...]

  • Viacom HQ LA

    Viacom Goes to War With AT&T Over DirecTV Carriage Deal

    Viacom has declared war against AT&T, blasting the telco giant on several fronts as the companies wrestle over a carriage renewal deal that is vital to Viacom’s long-term financial health. As of today, Viacom has begun running crawls and promo spots on its channels warning viewers that Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET, MTV and other channels [...]

  • Maureen FitzPatrick Rob Silverstein

    Rob Silverstein Out as 'Access Hollywood' Executive Producer After 20 Years

    Rob Silverstein, exec producer of NBC’s entertainment newsmagazine “Access Hollywood” and its spinoffs, is leaving the syndication franchise after 20 years at the helm. He’ll be replaced by “Hot Bench” alumnus Maureen FitzPatrick. Silverstein’s departure was announced Tuesday morning at a staff meeting for “Access” producers. Silverstein was also exec producer of the hourlong talk [...]

  • '9-1-1' Billboard Vandalized With Anti-Beto O'Rourke

    '9-1-1' Billboard Vandalized With Anti-Beto O'Rourke Message

    A billboard for the Fox procedural “9-1-1” on Pico Blvd., adjacent to the studio lot, has been vandalized with an anti-Beto O’Rourke message, Variety has learned. The imagery was put up by a politically conservative man who goes by ‘Sabo.’ The promotional art for the series featured on the billboard shows a car wreck sticking out [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content