Alanis Morissette recently discussed what she thought about the new documentary about her. Premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival, Jagged is about Morissette’s seminal 1995 album Jagged Little Pill. Along the way, it talks about the life of the singer.
The film is one of the most complimentary documentaries about a musician out there. Instead of following the standard “rise and fall” formula, it is a celebration of Jagged Little Pill and of Morissette herself. Jagged is filled with interviews from collaborators and fans speaking highly of the work.
There is also discussion about how critics and people at the time would focus on things like who a song was about how the incorrect usage of a word instead of the emotion and feeling being conveyed. Interviewees also talk about how the album was to cross gender lines. It is an all around positive and fascinating look at an artist.
And Morissette does not like it.
Since she is the subject of the documentary, no one’s opinion matters more than Morissette’s. If she feels her and director Alison Klayman’s visions of the project did not match, then they did not. It is clear that sometime since the initial interviews and the premiere of Jagged there has been some sort of misunderstanding. While she was open during the interviews, the singer now states the film has a “salacious agenda”.
There are some bombshells during Jagged, but they are a very small part. Many outlets have focused on the statutory rape comments, but it lasts no more than a few minutes. The focus of the film is not about what happened, but how it made Morissette a stronger women. It is a shame that so many places have used that as the hook of their reviews for the film instead of how it is a story of a woman succeeding against all odds.
This may be why Morissette has come out against the documentary. In a statement, she stated how she thought Jagged would a celebration of her most famous album. While that is what the movie seems to be, to see news pieces spin it as some sort of tale about Morissette’s personal life must be painful to see.
All the write-ups about Jagged also say something about women speaking out. The film is a love letter that stands out for how little it gets into the more suggestive details of Morissette’s life. Still, a few comments are the ones being reported.
This is demeaning to Morissette as a person and an artist. She is clearly trying to move on with her life (she does not even name anyone, preferring just to recognize she has been victimized). Her statements were not made for attention but as an example of what events in her life had made her the person she is.
By writing stories revolving around what she said, Morissette has essentially been reduced to “the woman who claimed she was raped”. The reviews rarely mention the influence of Jagged Little Pill or the enormous success it was. It is easy to see why Morissette would become angered. Klayman wanted to convey the joy the album made people feel. Morissette is understandably pleased with her work. But all of this ignored; just because a woman told the truth.
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