Written by Mallory Delchamp.
If you are not a fan of the popular boy band, One Direction you probably roll your eyes every time the trailer for their new movie comes on TV.
If you are a fan of the group (or as fans refer to themselves, a “directioner”) then One Direction: This Is Us is the movie you have been eagerly waiting for. Now before I continue I will admit to being a fan of the British/Irish five-some. I will try my best to remain unbiased while conducting this review, but rest assured that I am drinking out of a plastic One Direction cup as I type this.
One Direction: This Is Us is the new documentary film directed by Morgan Spurlock, the mastermind behind the revolutionary 2004 film Supersize Me. While this film’s subject matter is completely different from Spurlock’s previous projects, This Is Us still maintains the grittiness and flashiness that Spurlock is known for.
This boy band documentary serves as fair mix of a concert film (much like its predecessors such as Justin Bieber Never Say Never and Katy Perry’s A Part of Me) and as an inside look at the lives of the five boys of One Direction — the handsome Harry Styles, the mysterious Zayn Malik, the comedic Louis Tomlinson, the cheeky Niall Horan, and the charming Liam Payne.
From the band’s modest beginnings, to the success of their post X-Factor career, the film succeeds at giving fans exactly what they want: plenty of scenes with a shirtless Harry Styles (arguably the most popular member of the group — a young Mick Jagger) and plenty of footage of the boys simply goofing off (reminiscent of The Beatles circa A Hard Day’s Night). While the film does show the ups and downs of tour life, it also features several of the boys’ parents talking about the difficulty of being separated from their sons.
This Is Us also serves as an educational tool for non-directioners as it gives a somewhat brief rundown of the boy band’s career: how they each auditioned for the reality TV series The X-Factor as individuals and were put together into a group by the ruthless and renown judge, Simon Cowell; and how their stardom catapulted into action thanks to thousands of social media savvy fans. However This is Us fails at tackling each of the boys’ personal lives.
The film functions as a home movie of the five songsters but there are several scenes that are blatantly scripted, including a heart tugging moment in which Harry, Zayn, Louis, Liam, and Niall are all seated around a campfire (Why would One Direction be camping?) discussing how they each cannot imagine a time that is destined to come in which they will not be performing for a living. Unlike the Justin Bieber and Katy Perry films, which included several of the two pop stars’ low points (Perry’s divorce and Bieber’s concert cancellation) This Is Us is pure joy — once again giving fans all they want and more.
Bottom line: As a documentary Spurlock’s latest piece falls short but as a concert film One Direction: This Is Us is an hour and thirty minutes of the One Direction boys doing what they do best: being themselves and charming thousands of fans in the process.