The Barrino Story
There was a time when I was a sucker for talent shows; as a Brit I watched X-Factor and Britain's Got Talent and also watched the American versions when they were shown. But my enjoyment of these talent shows quickly died and so whilst I can say that I have heard of American Idol winner Fantasia I never watched her win or have heard any of her music. I mention this because it means that I watched "Life Is Not a Fairytale: The Fantasia Barrino Story" as a movie fan rather than as a fan of Fantasia herself. And as a movie fan I was under whelmed as whilst Fantasia's tough life is detailed it is detailed in what feels like a cliche way drawing on other movies to inspire scenes.
So "Life Is Not a Fairytale: The Fantasia Barrino Story" takes us through Fantasia's life from a young girl where her parents were musicians looking to make it in the big time with a family band with her dad at times angered by their struggles to be spotted. It then dwells on Fantasia as a teenager where she is raped by another student, struggles with illiteracy and also has a baby. All of which eventually after other ups and downs leads to Fantasia's appearance on "American Idol".
Now as I said I don't know Fantasia to pass judgement on her story or how accurately the movie portrays it but as a movie fan I can say that it felt like it was heavily influenced by other musical biopics. The early scenes are some of the most cliche from Fantasia as a child bringing some soul to a church service whilst her brother busted out James Brown moves in front of the congregation to the children busking on the street and a producer spotting them. It felt too manufactured to be believable and this is the issue throughout the movie as further on in there are scenes which feel too crafted for what wants to be a gritty biopic.
What I will say though is that there is some considerable talent in "Life Is Not a Fairytale" with the likes of Kadeem Hardison and Viola Davis all having important parts to play. And what was a pleasant surprise was Fantasia Barrino herself because other singers who have appeared in their own biopics tend to overplay their role whilst there was a natural rawness to Fantasia's performance which despite some manufactured scenes helped to make some of it feel real.
What this all boils down to is that "Life Is Not a Fairytale: The Fantasia Barrino Story" is probably more entertaining for fans of Fantasia than for those who are movie fans as for movie fans it all feels a little too cliche.