WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
A portrait of singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes' life, chronicling the past couple of years of his rise and journey.
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
"If I tell the world I'm just a normal human, are they going to stop coming to the shows and listening to the music?" Shawn Mendes asks in his new Netflix documentary.
Shawn Mendes: In Wonder takes a closer look at the Canadian singer-songwriter's life and meteoric rise to fame through the lens of a "guy who just really likes music".
That, for the most part, is the main narrative of the film. It follows the then-21-year-old on his self-titled world tour in 2019, which included 105 shows across the globe.
The film starts at the 95th show in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where his performance was cancelled due to vocal cord strain that doctors and experts feared could permanently damage Shawn's vocal cords and impact the rest of his career.
An all-round good guy who isn't used to failure, Shawn struggles to deal with the disappoint and the weight on his shoulders and bursts out crying on camera.
The film is interlaced with footage of a longer haired Shawn working on his 2020 album, Wonder, and shows him slowly drifting away from his energetic and exhausting world tour the previous year. The calm after the storm was perhaps exactly what the young singer needed.
Shawn, like his friend Justin Bieber, was discovered online at a young age through his Vine and YouTube videos. For the most part, he has avoided the ill-fated doom of prepubescent stars who are dangerously unprepared when thrust into the spotlight way too soon. In the documentary, it becomes clear that Shawn's family and close friends are the anchor keeping him grounded.
In Wonder also lifts the cloak on Shawn's relationship with Fifth Harmony singer Camila Cabello and reveals how the two lovebirds are trying hard to carve out a life as close to "normal" as any celebrity couple could possibly have – even sharing a penthouse together in New York City. The singer also reveals that Camila is his muse who has inspired all of his latest work.
Directed by Grant Singer, the film paints a portrait of a kind-hearted, sensitive, hardworking and talented Shawn and is a story the heartthrob's fans will surely enjoy. It will give die-hard groupies the access and insight into their idol's life that they've been craving, and they will undoubtedly enjoy every minute of it.
As far as documentary films go, the clean-cut storyline with very little dramatic developments within the narrative doesn't provide anything substantial that warrants a feature-length film. The youngster himself compares his current career trajectory to an athlete in their prime years. A lot is still to come and there's very little current life experience that can be used to add colour, flesh or true depth to the film.
It's an easy view and a great tool to create hype around Shawn's latest work, but don't expect anything earth shattering.
WATCH THE TRAILER HERE: