This Is Me… Now: A Love Story REVIEW – A Narrative Mess

This narrative-driven cinematic odyssey doesn't really go anywhere.

This Is Me... Now
This Is Me... Now

There is very little Jennifer Lopez has done that I’ve not loved. I’ve watched all of her rom-coms, her thriller/action stuff, and of course her nominated performances in Selena and Hustlers. I even watched her Netflix documentary Halftime, which went into the behind the scenes of her prepping for her Super Bowl performance with Shakira. And I’ve loved everything, well, maybe not Gigli. So before I watched this narrative-driven cinematic odyssey – that’s how it’s described – I truly expected to like it. It feels like kind of a plot-twist that the most personal project she’s ever worked on, I do not love.

The storytelling in This Is Me… Now: A Love Story is built around J.Lo’s studio album of the same name, so all the movie’s set pieces are built around her music. There is a kind of loose narrative flowing through the film, centred around Lopez’ Artist character, who is basically J.Lo herself. It begins with catastrophic heartbreak (we can safely assume that it’s the fallout of her first breakup with Ben Affleck), and there’s like a steampunk stylized sequence of the Artist trying to restart the heart chamber. We’re told casually that this is a dream while the Artist is in therapy – her therapist is played by Fat Joe for some reason – and it feels strange to specially demarcate it as a dream when everything feels pretty surreal.

The biggest letdown of the film is that it doesn’t feel particularly revelatory, nor is there any sense of pathos. The film tells us that J.Lo is a serial monogamist, that she’s addicted to love and can’t be without a relationship. This is something that we all pretty much know, considering how much J.Lo’s love life has been in the limelight for most of her career. She’s certainly been judged by her failed romantic relationships, and the film goes into what fuels this desire for love. There are some enjoyable campy moments, like an entire wedding sequence with three interchangeable husbands.

The zodiac council – which comprises of stars like Jane Fonda, Trevor Noah, Keke Palmer, and even Neil deGrasse Tyson – may have been a fun, campy idea in theory, but extremely cringey in execution. They watch the Artist from above, trying to guide towards her destiny, but she seems to mess up despite their best efforts. The dialogue between the zodiac council doesn’t feel like they are conversing with each other, kind of comes across like they did their scenes individually and then they were put together.

J.Lo is a magnetic performer, and is delivering every single time she’s onscreen, but there’s a certain hollow quality to the film because we never get genuine catharsis. The more authentic moments in the film never get explored further, like the Artist reciting lines from The Way We Were, or the intervention scene from the Artist’s group of friends. Even when the Artist goes to Love Addicts Anonymous, her sharing doesn’t really go to a deep, heartfelt place, which makes the sad, interpretive dance that follows kind of jarring.

It’s clear that this project is important and something that J.Lo is sentimental about. It’s always great when an artist seeks to put themselves out there and let a sense of genuine emotion guide their creative process. But This Is Me… Now: A Love Story is too much of a narrative mess, and isn’t emotionally rich enough to make us feel all that much.

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This Is Me... Now
Verdict
Jennifer Lopez is dazzling onscreen, and this is clearly more of a sentimental than vanity related project. However, it's missing that genuine sense of pathos that would have given this film much-needed resonance.
5.5