Screen Test

Dark side of picture-perfect success

Two documentaries - on Taylor Swift and a cheerleading team - are both about people with the desire to perform and please, who push themselves to the brink

Miss Americana explores the ups and downs of pop star Taylor Swift’s (above) career. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Cheer (above) puts the spotlight on the pressures in competitive cheerleading. PHOTO: NETFLIX
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Two documentaries dive into the dark side of being a certain kind of picture-perfect, all-American girl - Miss Americana tracking the rise of pop star Taylor Swift, while Cheer examines the bizarre and brutal sport of competitive cheerleading.

You could cynically dismiss the first as the pop princess' thin-skinned riposte to defend herself from critics who have sniped at her politics and sincerity.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 27, 2020, with the headline Dark side of picture-perfect success. Subscribe