Homecoming, Beyonce’s new concert documentary, is now streaming on Netflix.
[Ed. Note: Being that TV and City is on a bit of a hiatus, this article has not been edited.]
By Greg Wheeler
To have the results of the 1% you have to be willing to do what the other 99% of people aren’t willing to do. It’s a quote that few people truly understand until you realize the sacrifice, grind and hours you have to put into achieving something truly special. Whether it be running a marathon, building a successful business or putting on an unforgettable, showstopping concert, this pattern of hard work and sacrifice is always the same. On the surface, Homecoming is simply a Beyonce concert, interspersed with archival shots of rehearsals. When you dive a little deeper though, there’s a really important message about believing in yourself and following your dreams that’s reinforced throughout the show.
After a brief introduction, a full orchestral band introduces Beyonce to the stage with an instrumental rendition of Me, Myself and I. Dressed in bright yellow jerseys, the band and Beyonce take a moment to soak in the applause and cheers before exploding into a flurry of trumpets and strong vocals as Queen B sings Crazy In Love, the song that shot her into super-stardom all those years ago. Utilizing a range of tempos, effortlessly switching from fast to slow paced harmonies, Beyonce’s Coachella concert begins in impressive form.
From here, the rest of the film dances back and forth between the live performances of Beyonce’s different songs, including a cameo from Jay-Z, with black and white rehearsal scenes and archival footage of the run-through rehearsals on the stage. These moments really add some depth to the show too, as Beyonce narrates these with an eye-opening look at what it takes to put on a show like this. Juggling her baby twins, husband and 6-year-old daughter with 3 sound stages and over 200 performers to direct, through these segments we truly learn the sacrifices this extraordinary woman went through to put on this visually incredibly show.
While some people may be put off from the racial undertones around Blacklivesmatter and the community finding their voice in an otherwise marginalized society, for the most part this works really well to emphasize what this show is really all about. It’s a hopeful, powerful statement about following your dreams and achieving something truly unique. All wrapped up in the personality, swag, and attitude flaunted on stage by every individual performer. Because of this, these archival segments work so well next to the live performances to really highlight just how much hard work goes into putting on a show like this.
Of course, if you’re not a fan of Beyonce or her music, this film is unlikely to sway your opinion. With half the film dedicated to Beyonce’s background and the making of the show itself, some people will inevitably find more value here and wish for these segments to be longer. By comparison, others may prefer this to be a full show from start to finish without interruption. The decision to bring these together really makes the show work harmonically as a collective whole. It makes Homecoming a really solid concert with enough interesting behind-the-scenes work and a strong thematic core to make it a very satisfying and uplifting film.
I give Beyoncé’s Homecoming a B+.