Now streaming on Disney+ is the short musical docu-film, Miley Cyrus: Endless Summer Vacation – Backyard Sessions. The 40(ish)-minute feature, directed by Jacob Bixenman and Brendan Walter, comprises a collection of ‘live’ performances by the titular singer, interspersed with some on-screen commentary from Cyrus herself.
Positioned as a film about a series of stripped back, intimate performances, Miley Cyrus: Endless Summer Vacation – Backyard Sessions is effectively a no-budget music and conversational piece. The film features just over half-a-dozen songs, almost all taken from Cyrus’ new album Endless Summer Vacation, with Cyrus performing the tracks with no major spectacle or huge production values.
Songs included in the docu-feature range from the likes of Jaded and Rose Colored Lenses, to Thousand Miles and Wonder Woman. There’s also room for her Number 1 smash-hit record, Flowers, which effectively closes the film.
The only song which appears in the docu-film that is not taken directly from Cyrus’ new album is her eternal classic, The Climb. The powerful and inspirational country ballad, pops up two-thirds of the way through the feature, to highlight the importance of her journey as a musician.
When Cyrus isn’t performing her music, the rest of the film concerns itself with short interviews, where the singer talks about her songs. These mini clips are fairly brief, but they offer an insight into Cyrus’ creative process, highlighting some of the influences behind many of her new bangers.
Through her discussions she reveals the inspiration behind the track Thousand Miles; she talks about the importance of self-care; and highlights some all-important words from Ru Paul. Cyrus also discusses her late grandmother; namechecks some of her musical peers; and comes across as a thoroughly likeable, and relatable human being.
This proves quite important for this film, as without these little insights into her character, this whole thing would play out very much like one big advert for her new record. OK, so even with the mini-interviews, Miley Cyrus: Endless Summer Vacation – Backyard Sessions does still play out like one big advert for her new record, but Cyrus brings a great deal of warmth to this film, and this makes it fun to watch.
Although there isn’t a great deal of depth behind the production itself, Cyrus still makes it captivating stuff. During the brief moments where she is talking to the camera, she comes across as a well-rounded, talented and uplifting individual, and this adds a bit of heft to proceedings.
While Miley Cyrus: Endless Summer Vacation – Backyard Sessions is short on length, and can only really be described as a ‘lightweight music concert’, there is something here which is still very captivating. The musical selection on offer is fab, Cyrus is insightful, and after watching the film, you come away feeling as though you have a better connection with the singer than you did before pressing ‘play’.
Miley Cyrus: Endless Summer Vacation – Backyard Sessions is great stuff and easy viewing of the highest order. It doesn’t rank up there amongst the great music docu-films of all time, but this 40-minute diversion is certainly entertaining and Cyrus is effortlessly cool.
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