P!nk: All I Know So Far

Posted on May 20, 2021 at 5:00 pm

B +
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Profanity: Some strong language
Alcohol/ Drugs: Wine
Violence/ Scariness: Brief scene of accident
Diversity Issues: Acceptance of diversity a theme of the movie
Date Released to Theaters: May 21, 2021

Copyright 2021 Amazon Studios
As I watched “P!nk: All I Know So Far,” I thought tof what W.H. Auden wrote in a poem called “Tonight at Seven-Thirty:” “The funniest mortals and the kindest are those who are most aware of the baffle of being, don’t kid themselves our care is consolable but believe a laugh is less heartless than tears.” P!nk, one of the world’s biggest rock stars, exemplifies that deep appreciation of humanity. Her tour, like her most recent album, is titled “Beautiful Trauma.” She embraces all of life’s struggles, losses, problems, and joys with laughter.

The film documents a portion of her pre-pandemic tour. Skillfully directed by Michael Gracey, who showed his appreciation for backstage stories with “The Greatest Showman” and “Rocketman,” the film follows P!ink and her family as they approach one of the highlights of the tour, her appearance at the legendary Wembley Stadium. There is the usual mix of rehearsal and concert footage, with perhaps more than usual of the star herself, who also produced, telling her story, which is about living at the intersection of art, commerce, and life, not trying to balance it all but trying to embrace it all at once, to integrate every part of it as seamlessly as she can. “I enjoy seeing the world with my kids as much as I enjoy nailing it on stage,” she says. “I want it to be perfect for everyone buying a ticket and in my kids’ minds.”

Essentially, she is responsible for three different jobs, though, all unimaginably all-consuming. She is the mother of Willow (age 8) and Jameson (age 3) and the wife of Carey Hart, formerly a Motocross champion, now a full-time dad. She is a Grammy award-winning mega-rock star who fills stadiums like Wembley for her concerts and thrills audience with acrobatic stunts that would be a challenge for Cirque du Soleil performers, belting out the hit songs that she wrote as she swings above the crowd, sometimes upside-down. And she is essentially the CEO of P!ink, Inc. as we see after a concert performance when she sits across a table from the people who work her show with a list of changes. For example, this venue has a stage 85,000 square feet larger than the one they had blocked the choreography on, so they need to figure out a way to adapt so that she can be where she needs to be without having to race so fast to get there that she does not have enough breath to sing. Just as she has to manage simultaneously singing and dancing (and swinging from the ceiling) she has to manage simultaneously touring and mom-ing. She laughs (of course) at one point remembering her wild child days, when she thought being a rock star meant freedom from anyone else’s rules only to find that she not only had to obey rules like being on time, she had to enforce them.

That applies to parenting, too, of course. It is a pleasure to see the patience and love P!nk and Carey show Willow and Jameson. Willow shyly asks if she can take some time off from the tour to see her friends and in one of the film’s sweetest moments, P!nk says she is proud of Willow for being able to express her feelings.

Hart does not get much time on camera until about halfway through the film, and when he refers to Alecia, it took me a moment to remember who that was. For her family, she is Alecia. And Mommy. The musical performances are thrilling, but what is most memorable about this film is Alecia/P!ink herself. She says that when you’re struggling, you imagine that if you ever get a Grammy you will take the opportunity at the podium to call out the high school principal who didn’t believe in you. But after all of the work it takes to get there, you find you are just grateful for everything that got you to that point. Watching her helps us to reframe our own lives with gratitude as well.

Parents should know that this film has some strong language and explicit lyrics and some drinking of wine. There are references to past wild behavior.

Family discussion: What is P!nk’s biggest challenge, performing or being a mom? How are they different? What will her children remember about the tours?

If you like this, try: “The Other F Word” about punk and metal musicians and fatherhood.

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Posted on September 19, 2013 at 6:00 pm

B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and strong sexual content
Profanity: Very strong and explicit language
Alcohol/ Drugs: Drinking and references to substance abuse
Violence/ Scariness: Tense confrontations, some mild peril
Diversity Issues: Diverse characters
Date Released to Theaters: September 20, 2013
Date Released to DVD: January 7, 2014
Amazon.com ASIN: B00FXWAZX2

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Imagine that the one thing you cannot trust yourself to be near is around you all the time, wherever you go.  As difficult as it is to recover from addiction to drugs or gambling or alcohol, at least those in recovery can wall themselves off from the places and activities that act as their most dangerous triggers.  But sex addicts are surrounded by stimuli all the time.  “Is all of Manhattan just one big catwalk?” asks one character in this sympathetic portrayal of people who try to find a way out of what one of them calls his very dark places.  “It’s like trying to quit crack while the pipe is attached to your body.”

Sex addicts have to endure the ignorance of those who snicker or ask “Isn’t that just something men say when they get caught cheating?”  They have to ride in cabs with titillating videos playing in the back seat.  Adam (Mark Ruffalo) avoids temptation by not allowing himself to have a television, home access to internet, or a smartphone.  And he has walled himself off from another kind of temptation but not having a romantic relationship.

His sponsor, Mike (Tim Robbins), encourages him to try to date.  And when he meets Phoebe (Gwyneth Paltrow), he wants very much to get close to her.  She is a breast cancer survivor, which may be one reason he feels that she can understand his struggles.  But at first he does not tell her the truth about himself.  Mike has a son, Danny (Patrick Fugit of “Almost Famous”), who has a history of substance abuse, and who returns home promising that this time is different.

Adam is a sponsor, too.  His “sponsee” is Neil, a doctor whose passion for saving others has been a way for him to avoid being honest with himself about his own behavior, which includes inappropriate touching of women he does not know and elaborate mechanisms for “upskirt” photography.  Being court-ordered will not be enough to get him to tell the truth; being fired could be a start.  As so often happens in 12-step programs, the key for Neil may be the chance to help someone else, someone he understands and who understands and helps him.  An outspoken hairdresser named Dede (rock star Alecia “Pink” Moore) who is in both the sexual addiction and “beverage” (alcohol abuse) programs calls him for emergency help and helping her is the first step in helping himself.

Mike, Tom, and Adam are all at different stages of their recovery, and each faces different challenges and hard truths.  Sometimes these are framed in the kind of “But that’s okay” support group-speak that Al Franken used to mock on “Saturday Night Live.”  “Why did I pick such a tough sponsor?” Adam asks wryly.  “I don’t know, maybe you wanted to recover,” Mike answers with a smile.  “United we stand, divided we stagger.”  “Thanks for bookending this for me.”  And you know someone will have to break down and say, “I’m out of control.  I’m scared.  And I need help.”  But, you know what?  That’s okay.

Co-writer/director Stuart Blumberg wisely spares us the easy explanations that allow us to feel smugly separate from those who struggle to achieve a sense of control, and he is frank about the dynamic, positive and negative, between those who struggle with addiction and those who maintain relationships with them.  The all-star cast delivers with performances of aching sensitivity and heart.  And if a brief moment in the film that has People Magazine’s most beautiful person alive Gwyneth Paltrow in sexy lingerie is the image that is being unironically widely used to promote the movie, well, that helps make its point.

Parents should know that this film concerns sexual addiction and there are frank discussions and portrayals of people who struggle with various kinds of obsessive and destructive sexual behavior. It includes very strong and explicit language, some drinking and references to substance abuse, and some mild peril and violence.

Family discussion: How does sexual addiction differ from other kinds of obsessive and compulsive behavior? Why was it easier for these characters to support and understand each other than to their families and romantic partners?

If you like this, try: “Don Jon” and “28 Days”

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