Beyonce's HBO doc: All the moments you don't want to miss, minute by minute
A documentary about Beyonce, starring Beyonce, directed by Beyonce: no one, not even Beyonce, could argue Life is But a Dream isnt a piece of pop propaganda. Its calculated, its controlled. (It is, again, made by Beyonce.) But its the whole idea of control that makes the pop star so fascinating: her total control over her image, her career -- her every vocal run, booty pop and melodramatic toss of an ear-piece.
For that reason, fans will devour any hint of an unguarded moment -- a goofy quote, a grainy home video -- even if all they reveal is that Beyonce is still, ultimately, completely pulling the strings. Some of those personal moments have already been teased, to hype anticipation for the films premiere, Saturday on HBO Canada.
But it takes more than a Blue Ivy sonogram to fill 90 minutes of television. Canada.com watched Beyonce: Life is But A Dream, and broke it down into all the minute-by-minute moments you cant miss Saturday night. If youre planning a snack run, good luck.
1:20 Our first glimpse of Beyonce without makeup.
She is, of course, stunning. She is also, of course, establishing the idea that the film is an intimate, revealing documentary -- as per the official tagline. There is nothing more intimate and revealing than a pop star without her false eyelashes.
2:11 Beyonce reveals the origins of her fanclub name The Beyhive.
In home movie footage of Beyonce and her sisters as kids, the superstar to-be gets distracted by a bumblebee -- and so, a hashtag is born. Justin Biebers Beliebers, Selena Gomezs Selanators, Katy Perrys Katy Cats: Cower, fools, in the knowledge of your inauthenticity.
2:50 The moment you realize this film was created by a true expert in all things Beyonce: Beyonce.
Bey executive produced and co-directed Life is But a Dream. The more you know.
7:38 The moment Beyonce addresses the firing of her father, and manager, Matthew Knowles.
"At some point you need your support system, you need your family, she says, discussing her 2011 decision to manage herself.
8:00 - The moment you realize she's not going to address all the dark-and-twisty gossip that dogged her decision to fire her dad -- gossip that included his divorcing Beyonces mom and fathering an illegitimate child and accusations that he embezzled money from his daughter.
But who really wants to hear that dirt? Time wasted on legal tedium is time we could spend gawking at Blue Ivys baby photos. (Where are Blue Ivy's baby photos?)
8:45 The moment where you realize this isn't going to be "an intimate, revealing documentary" but you keep watching any way.
For the first time, we get a glimpse of the interviewer. Shenanigans! Beyonce is directing this documentary, Beyonce is producing this documentary, Beyonce is filming most of this documentary on her laptop. Beyonce, Beyonce, Beyonce. Why even bother with the charade of casting an interviewer like this is some plain, old, ordinary unbiased piece of documentary filmmaking. For the inevitable sequel, cast Beyonce as a reporter, too. The technology has existed since the bygone days of The Parent Trap, at least.
11:20 The moment you realize Beyonces best friend is a laptop.
So sorry to break it to you, DC3, Beyonce loves her computer more. Since much of the doc is supplemented with Beyonces own home movies, she reveals that she keeps a video diary on her laptop -- a composed and articulate vlog the likes of which youll never find on YouTube (because she is, unlike everyone else on YouTube, composed and articulate). Thank God for my computer, she says, to her computer, in the film. Sometimes when there's no one to talk to I talk out loud so I can get all of my thoughts out. I try to figure out the issues that I'm having and I'm trying to find the answers."
11:40 The moment you learn Beyonce owns a painting of Beyonce as the Mona Lisa.
15:40 - First glimpse of vintage Destinys Child
Its a May 4, 2001 home movie of the group on the tangerine set of the Bootylicious video, gold-capped teeth and all, getting the news that their new album debuted at No. 1.
16:00 - Beyonce demonstrates the meaning of irony.
I think when Nina Simone put out music, you loved her voice. Thats what she wanted you to love. Thats what -- that was her instrument, Beyonce says in the film. But you didnt get brainwashed by her day-to-day life and what her child is wearing and who shes dating and, you know, all the things that really its not your business, you know? And it shouldnt influence the way you listen to the voice and the art. But it does. We are all very interested in watching a documentary about Beyonce, however, because she is a master of image and business and all the fancy celebrity whatnots that have made her a star. Shes also made us a 90-minute documentary all about her day-to-day life and what her child is wearing and who shes dating. We wont fault her, though. She knows how to put on a show, after all. Thanks again, B!
21:19 - Beyonce reveals that to get in the mood, she listens to her own music.
"I think I need to go listen to Make Love to Me then make love to my husband, she says to her webcam in one of films video diary segments. (What follows is her live performance of Make Love to Me, lest you mistake it for some other pop stars record.) To her credit -- and as Salon has previously noted a lesser pop star wouldnt have had the poise to act PG in such a moment.
23:06: Beyonce reveals she is with child.
She does so by telling her laptop. Poor, Jay-Z. Not even the first to know.
30:40 - Beyonce cuts her own hair.
Again: Beyonce CUTS HER OWN HAIR. Beyonce can do everything.
Her routine for the 2011 Billboard Music Awards just needed some last-minute prep work.
36:55 That moment you realize Beyonces performance at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards is the most Beyonkers thing shes ever done and you should really watch it again.
Here it is. Youre welcome:
Also, the film features the multimedia assault in its entirety which, fun fact, got its first full run-through on live TV. (The rehearsals, as the doc reveals, were difficult and fraught with technical snafus.) Beyonce narrates the number with her thoughts on feminism and equal rights, topics which inspired the writing of Girls, though theyre not entirely obvious amid all the spectacle.
"Nobody knew I was pregnant during that performance and I'm cool with that, I'm not interested in a free ride. But it absolutely proved to me that women have to work much harder to make it in this world. It really pisses me off that women don't get the same opportunities that men do. Or money for that matter, because let's face it, money gives men the power to run the show. It gives men the power to define our values and to define what's sexy and what's feminine and that's bullshit. At the end of the day it's not about equal rights, it's about how we think.  We have to step up as women and take the lead and reach as high as humanly possible. That's what I'm going to do, that's my philosophy and that's what Girls is all about.
41:09: Beyonce and Jay-Z listen to Feist.
Gatekeeper, specifically. "I am experiencing Utopia. Life could not be more perfect, she says to Jay-Z on home video while the song plays. This is the closest were going to get to a Canadian shout-out in the doc.
44:50: Beyonce reveals she suffered a miscarriage.
This confession has been teased as one of the docs big, personal reveals -- a sad chapter Jay-Z first alluded to in his song for daughter Blue Ivy, Glory. Beyonce says the personal tragedy inspired her to write "the saddest song I've ever written in my life. The tune is rumoured to appear on her follow-up to 4, but in the film, she shares audio from the song, as she wails: I guess love just wasnt enough for us to survive/ I swear, I swear, I swear I tried/ You took the life right out of me, I'm so unlucky I can't breathe/You took the life right out of me/Im longing for your heartbeat/Heartbeat.
57:30 The moment when you realize you should never, ever disappoint Beyonce. (And that we should all be as in-control as her.)
If Beyonce is unhappy with the set, with the lighting, with a million other notes, Beyonce will let you know. Straight up. And you will fall in line.
1 hour Beyonce shares some business advice.
"My father taught me so much about being a business woman and I'm understanding him a lot now and I think I've realized that business and being polite it doesn't match. I mean, you can be fair, but me being polite was not me being fair to myself. And now, I'm learning how political things are and a lot of the crazy things he did was necessary."
1 hour, 2 mins The moment when you realize this documentary is way too long, but you keep watching anyway.
Was a scene about back-up dancers getting chewed out for losing some wig glue or whatever really necessary? Still, you will be compelled to keep watching. We still havent seen Blue Ivy!
1 hour, 4 minutes Beyonce shows off her sonogram.
1 hour, 10 mins Beyonce shows us how a birthday speech is done.
Beyonce to Jay-Z in a home movie from Dec. 4, 2006: "You've taught me so many things. You've given me so much in life and this is not enough. It's not enough I can give you. I just want you to be happy. And every year, I'm even more in love with you and I want to spend every day of my life with you. Happy birthday and I thank God for you every day."
1 hour, 12 mins Beyonce and Jay-Z sing Coldplays Yellow
And yet, somehow, Chris Martin is still their friend.
1 hour, 21 minutes Live, nude, heavily pregnant Beyonce.
If youre a believer in the conspiracy -- the rumours Beyonce faked her whole pregnancy and her bump caved in during a certain TV interview -- heres a nude video shoot to prove you wrong. Repent, repent, sing 10 Bootyliciouses and an Our Father. Then again, the baby bump footage is shot in grainy and shadowy black and white. Blue Ivys birth can still be the Moon Landing Conspiracy of celebrity pregnancies if you want it to be. If so, though, Beyonce thinks youre a jerk. (She says -- and sings -- as much in the doc.)
1 hour, 22 minutes Beyonce had her hair done while giving birth.
Her mom put her hair in curlers. Thanks, mom!
1:24:40 - Blue Ivy's debut.
She is a baby. She is adorable. She makes baby noises. She looks like her daddy.
1 hour, 30 minutes The end.
The moment you realize you should probably watch it all over again. This time, though, take notes on how to make your life more like Beyonce's.
Beyonce: Life is But a Dream debuts Saturday, Feb. 16 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO Canada.