CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Katy Perry is definitely a good role model. She found success after being knocked down again and again by record companies, she broke free of the shackles of her upbringing and she celebrates individuality rather than conformity.
"Katy Perry: Part of Me" shouldn't be as good as it is. A typical 3D concert movie, it follows Perry on her 2011 California Dreams tour as she travels across the globe for an entire year to entertain sold-out crowds. But there's something so genuine about the singer that you can't help but be enthralled for the 117 minutes she's on screen.
Although I don't care much for her music, it's definitely a delight to watch Perry perform live. The stage is full of decorations right out of Candyland, while Perry herself is donned in wonderfully colorful and flamboyant outfits. Bubbles fly through the air and lights flicker wildly as she sings.
The heart of "Part of Me" lies in the documentary aspect of the film. It showcases home movies of a younger Perry as she's raised by her Christian parents, who are traveling pastors.
From video diaries and interviews, we see how Perry longed to escape her restrictive life. As a gay teenager growing up in a conservative Christian environment, I definitely can relate to wanting to be yourself while being held down and limited by religion.
Though it wasn't as touched upon as I'd have liked, it was interesting to see her parents and grandmother react to her first hit single, "I Kissed a Girl." Her mother makes it clear it's not her favorite song, and while Perry seems to brush off the statement with a giggle, I can tell by the look on her face that she's hurt; it's a look I've worn for 17 years.
Ultimately, it's established that while her parents disagree with what she's singing, they're happy that she's doing what makes her happy.
The film also shows how Perry got her start after being rejected by record labels. While producers wanted to bill her as the next Ashlee Simpson or Avril Lavigne, she made it clear she just wanted to be the first Katy Perry.
Intertwined with this is footage from her fans, who talk about how much she's helped them through life, as well as scenes of Perry breaking down from the stress of the tour and her personal life. Though her now ex-husband, comedian Russell Brand, wanted their divorce to be kept out of the film, Perry left it in, hoping that seeing her while she was down could inspire fans to overcome their personal struggles.Perry accomplished what she wanted to do, both in the movie and as an artist in general, because I left the movie both feeling much more confident about who I am and with a newly sparked desire to keep on pursuing my dreams. I can't help but think that others will feel similarly.