Part of my 50 Documentaries to See Before You Die Challenge.
"Madonna: Truth or Dare" is one of those movies that I remember being controversial when it came out, but really had never bothered to look at once I was old enough to check out R-rated movies. So... does it hold up?
In part, yes. The concert scene for "Like a Virgin" is kind of graphic and titillating, even by today's standards. I may even go so far as to say it's smutty. But here is Madonna, the exact way she wants the world to see her - in a position of power and carefully crafting the message of herself. She is in control constantly. You almost sigh with relief when she dumps Warren Beatty - he's free! he's free! You feel like everything that is shown on camera is the result of the workings of a meticulous strategic mind. Perhaps because the sexiness is not as shocking as it had been 20 years ago, the power dynamic really shines through. She is also heartbreakingly lonely, but I don't know if she'd see that. It's something that she chooses, but she may not be fully conscious of it. Family and friends are constantly around, wanting little more than to spend 5 minutes with her, consent to being a Godmother, or celebrate a birthday. She pushes them away. The loneliness is her own making, and culminates in a scene of her alone in her hotel room with the voices of her family, friends, and staff layered on top.
There is one illuminating scene. She's sitting in her hotel room, talking to her dad about her upcoming trip to Detroit. Yeah, Dad, it's kind of racy. No, Dad, I'm not naked. How's Marty doing? Is he out of rehab? Did you want some tickets to the show? - Just the kind of conversation you'd expect between a Midwestern Girl and her father... if the Midwestern Girl made a living by a combination of sexuality and sacrilege.