This Is Me… Now (2024)

This Is Me… Now Review

This Is Me… Now

As a grand storybook fills the screen, fairy tale music swells. “Do you know the story of Alida and Taroo?” star Jennifer Lopez asks with an intense seriousness. The illustrations in the storybook come to life as Lopez tells the Puerto Rican legend of two lovers from different tribes who are turned into a red flower and blue hummingbird by gods. She wrote and conceived “This Is Me…Now: A Love Story,” a companion film to her first album in 10 years (also called This Is Me…Now), using that myth as a way to reflect on her own life, which appears to have finally found its happily ever after through her reunion with and marriage to Ben Affleck (who makes quite the cheeky cameo à la his Keith Olbermann-skewering 2008 SNL appearance).

And then there’s J. Lo on the back of a motorcycle, beaming as she clings onto the driver while they zoom down some scenic ocean-side mountainside. Until they crash, separate and the picture crumbles away, leaving Lopez alone in an apocalyptic steampunk heart factory. Here comes the film’s first musical interlude, “Hearts and Flowers,” whose lyrics are just about as cheesy and earnest as its narration. “I made it through the rain, / The trauma and pain,” she sings as she styled like one of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis workers frantically helps them refill that breaking metal heart with petals from red flowers that all seem to have wilted away.

Her vocals do indeed boast more than my preferred amount of autotune, but her dance moves are still sharp AF. In one sequence set to song “Rebound,” couples bound themselves together within a glass house using long strips of coloured cloth. When they pull apart, it snaps back like yo-yos stringing them back together again choreography in Tanztheater style à la the late German modern dancer Pina Bausch. Another sequence, set in a group therapy session, takes inspiration from “Mein Herr” from Cabaret, with Lopez bringing a more bare-bones emotional rawness to the choreo than she ever has before.

The film bounces back and forth between these dreamlike sequences set to tracks off her new album, therapy sessions between Lopez and her longtime good friend Fat Joe, and some truly unhinged moments featuring a group of astrological stars (played by literal stars Jane Fonda, Post Malone, Keke Palmer, Jennifer Lewis, Kim Petras, Jay Shetty, Sofia Vergara Neil deGrasse Tyson Trevor Noah Sadhguru) known as the Zodiacal Council. Though each star plays one of their respective Zodiac signs hilariously enough Aquarius and Capricorn go unrepresented. I’ll let the astrology girls work that one out. Of these vignettes, the Fat Joe ones work best due to his calming energy and decades-strong chemistry after years of working together professionally and being friends. Oscar nominee Paul Raci also brings his grounded presence to one of the more successful vignettes as leader of a Romantics Anonymous group therapy session.

Jenny from the Block is no stranger to the silver screen, but with “This Is Me Now: A Love Story,” Jennifer Lopez has created a different kind of cinematic experience. In addition to using her song lyrics and the film’s visuals as both therapy and confessional about her personal life, she also examines how elements of her filmography were part of her romantic self-expression for better or worse. The video for the album’s first single, “Can’t Get Enough,” not only pokes fun at three failed marriages with elaborate wedding-set scenes (a nod to movies like “The Wedding Planner,” “Marry Me” and “Shotgun Wedding”), but after yet another breakup we see her watching “The Way We Were,” mouthing along to Barbra Streisand’s lines when they say goodbye. She interrupts a cheesy monologue about believing in soulmates by saying time is up for their session, then there’s Fat Joe again telling her time is up before she can finish. Part of what made her such an alluring romance star came from being herself a hopeless romantic; never once looking down on the genre as something lesser because she knows what it can do. She brings open tenderness to these roles not just because she understands them but because she understands people who love them.

On that note also if you’re reading this, Jenny from the Block, please make another rom-com soon those who choose to stick around through the end credits will be rewarded with an absolute bop called “I’m Gonna Be Alright.” It slaps so hard as a dance remix that I genuinely could not sit still during my third viewing.

Watch This Is Me… Now For Free On Gomovies.

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