Several weeks ago, Justin Bieber entered the political arena when a Rolling Stone article quoted him saying that he opposed abortion but supported Canadian-style health care. Although people can agree or disagree with such political stances, it’s difficult to dislike the young pop star who has worked tirelessly to achieve success. The documentary “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never” tells the story of Bieber’s meteoric rise to fame.
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The documentary fittingly begins by focusing on YouTube.com, the popular video site that has introduced millions of Americans to “the sneezing panda” and “the dramatic chipmunk.” That site also serves as a launching pad for talented artists and it’s where Bieber was discovered by his manager. Before then, Bieber was just another youngster with a good singing voice who was making videos with his family.
Soon enough, the manager and others in the music industry show interest in Bieber but even with their support, his fame is never guaranteed. To become a megastar, Bieber travels across the United States visiting local radio stations and performing on air. His popularity is never handed to him; he has to fight for it, one song after another. It’s difficult to imagine Bieber having to fight for attention but the documentary shows how driven he was even at a young age. While other young people may have given up, Bieber never stops working towards his goals.
Along with showing his rise to fame, the documentary also focuses on the days leading up to Bieber’s big show at Madison Square Garden. The days are full of anxiety as Bieber’s voice begins to falter on his concert tour. His doctors tell him that he needs rest but Bieber, ever the energetic teenager, wants to keep his concert schedule intact. He’s frustrated by the situation and hopes to recover before the big performance.
The story doesn’t always focus on the serious aspects of Bieber’s life, though. In one scene, the documentary pokes fun at Bieber’s famous haircut. In a self-deprecating way, the classic song “At Last” plays while Bieber’s hair is shown swaying in slow motion from side to side. Girls may swoon at the site but the filmmakers show that they have a sense of humor.
From the adolescent girls who adore the teenager (one even says that she thinks about him ninety-nine percent of the time) to Bieber’s road crew, it’s difficult not to enjoy meeting the people who look up to Bieber and the ones who support him during his exhausting tours. These people seem to enjoy the ride as Bieber grows up and improves as a performer. Bieber, himself, is grateful for them and for his own success and it shows when he is seen praying several times during the film, both before eating and before some of his concerts.
What surprised me the most about this documentary is how much I enjoyed it. I didn’t walk into the theater as a Bieber fan and I didn’t walk out as one. However, I did walk out with respect for a young performer who worked tirelessly to market himself and establish his credibility. As compared to Miley Cyrus, who enjoys a brief cameo in the film, I think Bieber has stayed more grounded to his roots and I hope he stays that way. For Bieber fans and for those who don’t like his music, “Never Say Never” is an enjoyable documentary about a young man who worked really hard for his success and who, as the title suggests, learned to never say never.