Jennifer Lopez’s semi-autobiographical film, ‘This Is Me … Now: A Love Story’, fails to make its mark

Published Feb 21, 2024


Global superstar Jennifer Lopez has been one of the busiest people in Hollywood over the decades.

From music, movies and television, to beauty and fashion, the media mogul has cemented her status as one of the biggest stars on the planet.

But her latest project, the Prime Video movie musical, “This Is Me … Now: A Love Story” has left scores of critics perplexed about the nature of this self-financed multimedia offering.

The 65-minute “cinematic narrative”, which was released in tandem with her new album, “This Is Me … Now”, was released on Prime Video last week.

The three-part project cost JLo - as she has affectionately become known - around $20 million (R380m) of her own money after funding for the project allegedly fell through.

Jennifer Lopez in a scene of ‘This Is Me … Now: A Love Story’. Picture: Instagram.

In the semi-autobiographical movie, where she also served as a co-writer and executive producer, Lopez plays the role of The Artist, who is forced to find herself after a rough break-up.

This is an obvious nod to her infamous break-up with Ben Affleck in 2004 and, in the movie, Lopez cheerfully pokes fun at her many relationships and marriages that followed.

But despite the many unique elements in “This Is Me … Now: A Love Story”, which many consider was made to be similar to Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” - a musical film and visual album by the American mega star -- it seems to be wide off the mark.

Considering JLo’s calibre, longevity and vast experience in the entertainment industry, many expected the film to be high-brow, even despite its experimental nature.

But rather, it is more of a reflection of Lopez's career, her ability to bounce back as a cultural figure as well as an insight into her several turbulent relationships.

The movie relies a lot on big metaphors and unsubtle imagery, with much of its content becoming social media meme material.

And while JLo’s relationship with Affleck is often referenced in the movie, the Hollywood actor and Oscar-winner only briefly appears in “This Is Me … Now: A Love Story”.

He plays the role of Biker, a lost love character.

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck. Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images.

But for someone who has played such a big role in Lopez’s life and, after co-writing the hugely successful “Good Will Hunting”, critics are questioning why his role in the movie was limited to just bookending the story.

Alongside Affleck, a range of stars and public figures also have brief appearances in the movie. Many of them feature as part of a Greek chorus in the form of a “Zodiac Council”.

They include Jane Fonda as Sagittarius, Trevor Noah as Libra, Kim Petras as Virgo, Keke Palmer as Scorpio, Sofía Vergara as Cancer, Jenifer Lewis as Gemini, Jay Shetty as Aries, Neil DeGrasse Tyson as Taurus, Sadhguru as Pisces and Post Malone as Leo.

This scene in which the gathering, who live in space and watch and judge JLo’s every move, discusses the haphazard nature of The Artist’s life, has gone viral on TikTok.

Lopez explained in the movie’s press notes that she was determined to include this Zodiac Council in the movie as it represented “all the people who comment on your personal life all the time”.

“You have your girlfriends who are talking about you. You have your co workers, your family, all of that. With me, you add the media on top of that. I always had a Greek chorus commenting on my life, so I said that we need to show this hopeless romantic that there are always people watching.”

In addition, Lopez’s other whirlwind romances are also unpacked in the movie, including in the romantic comedy sequence, which is set to her song “Can’t Get Enough”, in which she cycles through three weddings with three interchangeable husbands.

Played by Tony Bellissimo, Derek Hough and Trevor Jackson, many believe that this could be commentary on her past marriages to Ojani Noa, Cris Judd and Marc Anthony.

Meanwhile, Fat Joe plays the role of Lopez’s therapist in the offering.

Another criticism of the movie is that it doesn't adequately delve into the depths of Lopez’s life.

Rather than it being a confessional, “This Is Me … Now: A Love Story” does not give fans a chance to learn anything about Lopez’s love life and psyche, other than what she has already opened up about before.

∎ “This Is Me … Now: A Love Story“ is currently streaming on Prime Video.