The Netflix documentary film Ariana Grande: Excuse Me, I Love You follows the Grammy-winning, multi-platinum singer-songwriter around the globe on her sold-out 2019 Sweetener World Tour, capturing the spectacular performances of the hits that have burned up the charts, as well as exclusive, never-before-seen footage of the internationally-beloved superstar at home and on the road with her dancers and band. The film offers an exclusive peek at the many facets of the passionate, raw, and always real artist and provides backstage access to the pre-show rehearsals, iconic styling, and the intimate and emotional moments that are the reason for the special connection she has with her fans.
Sometimes after watching a ton of heavy and exhilarating movies, you want to kick back and watch something that’ll make you feel happy and cozy. You want to watch something that you can simply put your feet up, relax, and enjoy yourself. For me, these are usually concert films. Concert films aren’t really anything groundbreaking at all when you really think about it. It’s just a cameraman or crew filming a singer or band on stage as they perform their biggest hit songs, interact with fans, and have a good time in the moment. But depending on who the artist is, their energy on stage, their relationship with their fans, and how good their songs are, concert films can be an extreme source of comfort, especially to me.
My favorite of all-time is perhaps Stop Making Sense, which depicts a live performance from the band Talking Heads in December 1983. Lead singer David Byrne displayed such an incredible sense of energy and charisma on stage and he really knew how to get the crowd excited and joyous. It’s honestly one of the most cheerful films I have ever seen in my life. Another favorite of mine would have to be Taylor Swift: Reputation Stadium Tour.
There are a handful of concert films every few years, and now we have Ariana Grande: Excuse Me, I Love You, which is a hugely entertaining and fun movie despite the title being rather silly. Ariana Grande is easily one of my favorite singers of all-time. Her vocals are truly out of this world and she has yet to make a genuinely bad album. All of her work shows just how talented she is when it comes to all areas of songwriting and performing.
Excuse Me, I Love You in particular depicts Grande performing songs during her Sweetener World Tour, which features songs from, you guessed it, Sweetener – which just so happens to be my favorite album of hers. So as you can probably expect, I had a lot of fun watching Grande on stage singing some of my favorite songs of hers for an hour and a half.
And even though I have heard all these songs dozens of times before, I still tapped my toes and mouthed the words to so many of these songs because of how great they are. Plus, the live vocals from Grande are out of this world. She doesn’t need lip-sync whatsoever. Her raw vocals are genuinely incredible.
On top of all of this, it was so heartwarming to see how happy and excited she gets the audience. And it was also so amazing to see how well the crowd knew her songs as well. Sometimes all it takes for a fan to recognize a song from their idol is just to hear the first two seconds of the instrumental, and this happens with a lot of the songs in this film. One note begins and the crowd goes wild, immediately knowing which song Grande is about to perform live in front of them.
Something that I thought was kind of interesting here was how the film flips back and forth between a couple of scenes in which Grande performs some songs on stage, and then it transitions to her and her crew members goofing around and having a good time behind-the-scenes. It was a nice little touch and I was happy that added it. Although these transitions can feel a bit jarring, I enjoyed seeing how well Grande gets along with her dancers and other crew members.
All in all, Excuse Me, I Love You is a greatly enjoyable concert film even if it has some jarring transitions and even if it feels by-the-book. There’s nothing game-changing about this movie, but there doesn’t need to be anything game-changing here. It’s simply a film about legendary singer Ariana Grande having the time of her life on stage performing in front of the people she loves the most – her fans.
Overall Grade: B+
MPAA Rating: TV-MA
Cast: Ariana Grande
Directed by: Paul Dugdale
Distributed by: Netflix
Release Date: December 21, 2020
Running Time: 97 minutes