Jennifer Lopez's 'This Is Me...Now: A Love Story' Film Is More Than a Vanity Project

Directed by Dave Meyers

Starring Jennifer Lopez, Fat Joe, Jane Fonda, Trevor Noah, Kim Petras, Post Malone, Keke Palmer, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Ben Affleck

Photo courtesy of Prime Video

BY Rachel HoPublished Feb 16, 2024


When Jennifer Lopez released her 1999 debut album, On the 6, it felt like something special was peculating. Lopez had starred in Selena and Anaconda in the years just preceding the record, and before that, she began her career as a Fly Girl on In Living Color.

A "triple threat" is hardly an entertainment unicorn these days, but in 1999 there was a lot of marketing bumf being thrown around about the uniqueness of Lopez's success. This was cemented two years later when Lopez became the first female entertainer to simultaneously have both the number one movie (The Wedding Planner) and number one album (J.Lo) in America. It was also around this time that Lopez's love life began making tabloid front pages — something that would eventually eclipse her professional achievements.

From dating Puff Daddy to marrying her backup dancer to dating Ben Affleck (resulting in the monstrosity that is relationship portmanteaus) to marrying her longtime friend and collaborator Marc Anthony to dating another backup dancer to a broken engagement with retired baseball player Alex Rodriguez to looping back around to wed Affleck in 2022, Lopez was dubbed the modern-day Elizabeth Taylor and became the butt of many nasty jokes and harsh headlines.

A couple decades, Lopez has invested a reported $20 million of her own money to let us all know that she's quite aware of her reputation, and while she's not exactly in on the joke, she understands it. The entire investment comes as a three-part project that includes her first record in over a decade, This Is Me...Now; an accompanying musical film, This Is Me...Now: A Love Story; and, finally, a behind-the-scenes documentary, The Greatest Love Story Never Told.

A Love Story takes a similar route to Beyoncé's 2016 Lemonade film by incorporating songs from her new album set to visuals (basically just music videos) that tie together to create a cohesive story. Unlike Beyoncé, though, Lopez goes full-throttle on the acting side, at times leaning on her rom-com pedigree and others treading into Hallmark/Lifetime film territory.

Lopez, as herself, begins the film narrating a Puerto Rican folk tale about star-crossed lovers before launching into therapy sessions with Fat Joe about her failed relationships. She puts forward to him, her friends and us, her captive audience for the last 30 years, that her "problem" has been her unwillingness to let go of the "happily ever after" ending — what's wrong with being a hopeless romantic?

Lopez takes us back to her R&B roots with tracks scattered throughout the film free of the EDM sound she's favoured in the latter part of her recording career. There are references to Hollywood classics like The Way We Were and Dancing in the Rain, and a council of stars, including Trevor Noah and Jane Fonda, watching over Lopez as she goes bounces between marriages, dates and hook-ups. It's all very neat and tidy.

While the film doesn't just take us from one cheesy music video to the next, the framework is apparent — story B becomes clear just as story A winds down. The poetry and artistry Lemonade was heralded for is absent here, although it doesn't feel like those were the points Lopez was trying to score. Instead, A Love Story reads as an entertainer's attempt to restart her career by controlling her narrative, showing off the talent she believes she has and integrating all of her favourite things, including cloyingly saccharine proclamations of love.

Logic says that this is simply a vanity project by Lopez, but there's also an ease to this film that hasn't been apparent in her career before. She seems willing to let go of any animosity she may have carried and embrace that, while she may not be the best singer, actress or dancer out there, she's having a lot of fun enjoying the space she's carved out for herself in the entertainment industry.

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