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‘My Mind and Me’: A heartbreaking look behind the curtain of stardom

“Let me make you a promise. I’ll only tell you my darkest secrets.”

Selena Gomez does just that in her groundbreaking new documentary, “My Mind and Me,” baring herself to the world in a way which few celebrities have. Gomez does not paint herself as a person unsullied by her struggles, nor does she shy away from the sometimes grim reality she exists in. She fulfills that promise made in the opening scenes of the documentary, sacrificing her image for the sake of her message, one of promoting mental health.

However, it was not this message that initiated the project. In fact, when Gomez first approached Alek Keshishian, the filmmaker behind the 1991 documentary “Madonna: Truth or Dare,” she had no idea it would evolve into its current state. Originally, Gomez intended for him to capture the actuality of her 2016 “Revival” tour, shining a light behind the curtain of production and encompass her transition from a young pop-star fresh out of Disney to a true artist. To truly encapsulate the experience, Keshishian told Gomez that he would have to be witness to all parts of her life, both the highest peaks and lowest troughs.

Gomez gave him all of herself and more. When the tour was canceled in 2016, the young artist entered a psychiatric facility after an episode of psychosis, at the end of which she received her diagnosis for bipolar disorder. Instead of scrapping the film entirely, Gomez told the director that there was more to her story than being a star, and she was ready to share it, if he was willing to film it.

And film it Keshishian did. Picking back up in 2019, the team followed her through her return to the limelight leading up to the release of her 2020 album “Rare,” particularly emphasizing a trip to Kenya in collaboration with the now-controversial WE Charity. There is a distinct tension between who Gomez is in Kenya and who she feels she needs to be when she returns to Europe to do press for her then-upcoming album.

The film is particularly revealing in what it does not cover, as much as in what it does. There is no mention of the star’s return to TV with the show “Only Murders in the Building,” or her involvement in the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why.” Most notably, there is a lack of attention given to her very public on-again, off-again relationship with Justin Bieber. The lack of these moments in the documentary speaks louder than their inclusion. Gomez does not want to be defined by her accomplishments in entertainment, or even her past love life. The focus of the documentary is solely on her battle with her mental health and subsequent philanthropic efforts.

In the single, released in tandem with the documentary, Gomez sings, “My mind and me, we don’t get along sometimes and it gets hard to breathe but I wouldn’t change my life… if somebody sees me like this, then they won’t feel alone.” With those words, the artist perfectly encompasses this relative sacrifice of herself that she makes in order to promote change and awareness.

In the end, the documentary showcases the pieces of Gomez’s life that make up her journey through pain and strife. It highlights the complexity of her battle with her own mind, resolving with the poignant conclusion of her befriending it rather than triumphing over it. Once again, Gomez shows that she is not perfect, and she is all the more powerful for that fact.

Contact Ashley at @ahedge@nd.edu.

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‘Only Murders in the Building’: Killer Comeback

There’s a blackout across New York City. In the Arconia apartment complex, a murder investigation is occurring. And during all of this, the building’s residents come together for one moment and sing. This is “Only Murders in the Building.” There’s murder, there’s mystery, but what stands out most is the cast of characters and how they deal with the chaos they find themselves in. Though the episode had suspenseful moments and revelations for the investigation, the moment that stands out most is how the background characters interact and expand beyond just one-note personalities into complex characters with hopes and goals of their own. What’s even better is how these characters return throughout the season to help solve the mystery underlying the show. 

The show centers on Charles (Steve Martin), Oliver (Martin Short) and Mabel (Selena Gomez), all residents in the New York apartment complex, “The Arconia.” In the first season, Mabel’s childhood friend Tim Konos is found dead in his apartment, leading the three to unite over their shared interest in murder-mystery podcasts and start their own. The trio, despite all odds, make not only a great team unit, but great investigators, too. After a night of celebration over the arrest of Tim’s killer, the three get a mysterious text and find a dead body in Mabel’s apartment: their neighbor Bunny Folger, the owner of the building. The second season picks up on this thread, with the main trio investigating the killing, while defending their reputations from rival podcaster Cinda Canning (Tina Fey) and the crooked Detective Kreps (Michael Rapaport). These five aren’t the only characters the show takes time to know, however. In fact, every character, no matter how small, feels developed in such a way that they have a life outside of their purpose in the story. This is one of my favorite aspects of the show.

In the first season, the question “who killed Tim Konos?” carries much of the plot, but the second season places less emphasis on the actual murder and more on a wider theme of family. Family remains a clear theme that runs through the season, with all three central characters confronting their own fears and obstacles: Oliver worries about the results of a DNA test; Charles confronts the meaning of fatherhood as mysteries towards his own father arise coinciding with the arrival of his former partner’s daughter, someone who viewed him as a father figure himself; Mabel confronts her unhealthy coping mechanisms regarding death and negative emotions that rose from her own father’s death. Through all of these subplots, new revelations arise that lead the investigators to new evidence, no matter how unlikely they seem. The mystery is not impossible to solve, but it is not so clear that one could solve it from the season’s start: the show makes a point to have the audience learn and connect the pieces in the same ways the characters do. Twists are surprising, yet always rooted in information that was already known: the twist comes from solving the puzzle, not learning something unknown to the audience entirely. 

The show balances great character moments with an overarching mystery. Even when the show feels like it’s meandering or abandoning the mystery in favor of character moments that are unrelated to the wider picture, the show ties it all together with such skill it never feels forced or unfounded: every reveal is justified and has some foundation to stand on. The show is not only a great mystery, but also a masterful character-driven comedy, carried by the performances of Short, Martin and Gomez, along with the writing that provides them with great material. Whether you’re looking for a laugh or a chance to play Sherlock, you can’t go wrong with “Only Murders in the Building.”

Show: “Only Murders in the Building”

Starring: Steve Martin, Martin Short, Selena Gomez, Tina Fey

Favorite Episodes: “The Tell,” “Hello Darkness,” “I Know Who Did It”

If you like: “The Afterparty,” “Knives Out”

Where to watch: Hulu

Shamrocks: 5 out of 5

Andy Ottone

Contact Andy at aottone@nd.edu