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Alanis Morissette’s Journey with Jagged Is Not a Straight Line

Canada is know for churning out hit singer/songwriters like Carly Rae Jepsen, Avril Lavigne, Celine Dion, Shania Twain, Tamia and Deborah Cox to name a few.  But none of them pulsed the jugular vein of angst young women into the 90’s like Alanis Morissette.

In the new HBO Max doc,  this former teen pop singer was only 21 when Jagged Little Pill topped international charts in 1995, powered by hits like “You Oughta Know,” “Hand in My Pocket,” “Ironic,” and more. Today they are feminist anthems and the basis of hit a Broadway musical. However, its screen debut was not without controversy.  Shortly after the Toronto International Film Festival debut this fall, Morissette notoriously spoke out against director Alison Klayman.  Klayman is a self-proclaimed ginormous fan of the singer, but apparently the feeling is not mutual, “I was lulled into a false sense of security and their salacious agenda became apparent immediately upon my seeing the first cut of the film,” Morissette said. “This was not the story I agreed to tell.” She went on to accuse Jagged of including “implications and facts that are simply not true,” although it did not specify what those implications are.

Anywhoo, while they are sussing out the details of being up in their feelings, the filmmaker’s sensitive interviewing style allowed Morissette the space to reflect on her journey from Ottawa to Hollywood and around the world.  Bringing the added perspectives of her male band members, whom she toured and bonded with in the midst of rocking out before massive crowds from one city to another was simultaneously enlightening and heartbreaking. As a fan of music docs, I must admit that some serve as purely a nostalgia trip. This one, however, transports the audience to that moment you first heard Morissette and  goes a teeny step further offering a woman’s perspective on reaching massive heights in the music business while shielding what was lurking underneath.

Being body shamed into an eating disorder, struggling with record company desires vs what rings true in your heart, being held at gunpoint and making history as an unapologetic woman who didn’t wait for a culture to listen is just the tip of the iceberg of an artist whose entire life and career was like having fame under a rock.

What resonated strongest for me is that there was no mention regarding the scope of her fans who are not limited to white women.  It would have been nice to hear from some of my Latina, Asian, POC, LGBTQ and Trans sistas’ – after all music really is a universal language with a message that stretches far and wide.

At the end of the day, Jagged will leave a whole new generation of women artists inspired and educated to be just a little more savvy while navigating the shark waters of an industry that still struggles to view and treat women as equal.  Who better to pass that message along than the original badass creator of the “F-off” song – “You Outta Know” – my girl Alanis Morissette.

I love, love love movies, watching them and discussing them...thus the birth of The Curvy Film Critic!!! Host/Producer/FilmCritic-Expert, I am an member of such esteemed organizations as Critics Choice Association, African American Film Critics Association, Online Association of Female Film Critics and Alliance of Women Film Journalists. My op-eds or features have been seen in VARIETY, RogerEbert.com, Maltin on Movies, as well as being a frequent Guest Contributor to Fox 11-LA, NPR, Good Day LA, Turner Classic Movies, KCRW Press Play with Madeline Brand and Cherry Picks. Catch my reviews on The Curvy Critic with Carla Renata - LIVE!!! Mondays 5pm PST via You Tube or Facebook Live. If you like what you read please shout me out and subscribe to The Curvy Critic on YouTube. You can chat with me across all social media platforms @TheCurvyCritic and as always, thanks for supporting a sista'

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