No matter where you are or what you’re doing, you have heard the name Taylor Swift at least once throughout your day. As many would say, “She is the moment.” There is absolutely no doubt that her career has had a significant impact on pop culture. Five years since her last tour, Swift reappears, this time unfocused on the state of her reputation. Instead, she seems happier and freer. She’s attracting joy and success in abundance, jetsetting her way to billionaire status. But with all the splendor, a question arises: is this necessary, or is she making her way into overexposure status?
Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour is an accurate cinematic depiction of the Eras Tour, the sixth headlining concert tour by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. Grammy-nominated and Emmy award-winning Sam Wrench serves as director. He’s previously worked with Mary J. Blige, Billie Eilish, BTS, Mumford & Sons, and Jennifer López. His experience and dedication show. Gone are the flashy effects and unnecessarily abundant cuts from The 1989 World Tour Live. Instead, this time around, we have engaging and expertly handled camera choreography and visuals. While a few camera angles may have some scratching their heads, it all adds up to a fully immersive experience.
The tour is the hottest ticket in town. They’re expensive beyond belief, thanks to resellers due to the off-the-charts high demand. For many disappointed for not being able to attend the tour, new hope bloomed as Swift announced the film would have its premiere on October 13. Compared to thousands of dollars for seats with an obstructed view, $19.89 for a movie ticket sounded like a steal. Toss in exclusive merch from different theater establishments, and you have got yourself a party big enough to further Swift’s impact.
Looking back on Swift’s incomparable career, the tour itself is a milestone. Ten different albums showcase the ability of the artist to shift and change like a chameleon through the trends yet remain true to herself all the same. We go on a journey through Swift’s discography, exploring ten studio albums through ten different acts. The film captures her legacy as it is so far, depicting performances of most of the songs from the tour’s setlist. However, various songs are cut to aid the runtime of the film, which is already reaching a whopping three hours.
Now, does the film work? Yes, it does. Only because the tour already functions as a well-oiled machine. Taylor Swift is, without a doubt, a seasoned performer. The scale of the concert does not go without notice. But, beyond being an entertainer, Swift is a savvy businesswoman. She recognizes her audience and knows how to meet their needs and desires.
The Eras Tour has become a safe space of wonder and merriment. It was only natural for the film to follow through and bring this to the theater. With delicate and resplendent visual language, the audience can live and breathe in the moment. Then there’s the bonus of–due to Swift’s negotiation with movie theaters directly–a mutual understanding between provider and consumer. Fans dance, sing, and cry to their heart’s content as this space becomes sacred for the next few hours.
When it comes to Swift as an individual, you can tell she is conscious of absolutely everything. We watch a true perfectionist at play. Every choice and every move is a calculated one. Her poses and choreography can come off as staged, manicured, and nitpicked to the brim. But, then, there are moments when she lets herself let loose or jokes with the audience. Those are the most rewarding ones, breaking through the facade of perfection to reveal a human being. This is also evident throughout the credits, with bloopers of mishaps from the tour revealed.
Then there’s the best part of the entire event: her dancers. Beyond Taylor sparkling and shining like the mirrorball, she self-describes herself as the diversification of her touring crew has not gone unnoticed. From the singers to the impeccable dance crew, the Eras Tour stage reflects the kind of talent we want to see in these spaces.
Previously criticized for her lack of diversity and the harmful racial undertones in her videos, such as “Shake It Off,” it is refreshing to see Taylor Swift take the criticism, grow, and improve with it. Having crossed the threshold of silence many celebrities cling to, Swift has become vocal about her political views since the presidency of Donald Trump.
With this came a more outspoken singer-songwriter. While she could still be doing much more with her platform, she has since accepted her status as an icon for many in the LGBTQIA+ community. With this comes a celebration of queer culture and ballroom in the Eras Tour. Albeit short and sweet, it is impactful to see it there, expressed through said dancers, with Kameron Saunders, Sam McWilliams, and Whyley Yoshimura as clear standouts.
All in all, Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour is a cinematic milestone. It bypassed the studio system and created an environment for people to laugh, sing, and forget about their troubles. While it is a money-guzzling machine, there is a genuine joy to everything this tour stands for.