‘Demi Lovato: Dancing With The Devil’ Is a Devastating Docuseries About Addiction

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If you thought Demi Lovato’s 2017 YouTube documentary Simply Complicated was honest, you better buckle the hell up for her latest. Dancing with the Devil is raw and heartbreaking and challenging to watch — which makes it all the more imperative that people do hear Lovato’s harrowing story. I often think about the scene in her first documentary where she goes to Emo Night and sings the hell out of that Paramore song. Now, after watching her latest offering, I just think about how grateful I am that she’s still here.

The four-part docuseries chronicles, in painful detail, the events of her overdose in July 2018. Each episode lists trigger warnings at the beginning for various sensitive topics — eating disorders, addiction, sexual assault — in what feels like an upsetting and unrelenting list. But what’s important to keep in mind throughout is that Lovato is still here, perhaps stronger than ever, to tell her story.

Directed and produced by Michael D. Ratner, who is also responsible for Justin Bieber’s Seasons last year, no detail is spared when it comes to that fateful night. The performer’s friends share their experiences, and just when you think it can’t get any more gruesome, Lovato goes into detail about the trauma her body went through in that moment. I want to say it’s enough to convince anyone to never go near another drug again, but we all know that is unfortunately not the case.

In fact, this series should be required viewing for anyone: young people, especially, as a warning about the dangers of drugs, yes. But for anyone who hasn’t dealt with addiction, this example is about as scary and honest and frustrating as all hell as it can get. And for those that have seen this struggle up close and personal, it’s possible they will find some solace in the fact that yeah, even global superstar Demi Lovato continues to face these challenges as well.

Quite frankly, it’s hard to recall a documentary this haunting that features a subject who is still alive. It’s nothing short of a miracle, and one can only hope that hearing this tale serves as both a warning and a sign of hope for others in a similar predicament. After all, what this series makes abundantly clear is the fact that addiction does not discriminate. A woman who seemingly has it all; a supportive family and friends around her and all the talent and money in the world, still has to face down demons every day. And she’s not the only one: this is a national crisis, and despite the series proving to be more devastating with each moment, the bright side is that it could help and even save the lives of those who watch it.

Lovato, as well as close friends and famous friends, do not shy away from going into more detail here than any working publicist could ever feel comfortable with their client sharing, but that’s precisely what makes this as effective as it is. This star only seems to grow more immune to BS by the day. The series starts off by showing footage from a documentary that was being filmed in 2018, which was scrapped after her scare, and is used now to highlight where Lovato was at mentally during that time, all while in the middle of a big international tour. More details than we’ve previously known are shared here about the horrific effects of her overdose, as well as Lovato’s mental health, eating disorder, and sexuality, and the trauma that comes hand in hand with many of them. We learn how Scooter Braun came to be her manager, get new insight into her short-lived 2020 engagement, and get a preview of her new album, due in April.

And while much of this docuseries is shocking and horrifying, it’s also a reminder of why so many millions of people care so deeply about the performer. As I’m sure you’ve gathered, this is not a fun, poppy documentary, and it’s also not four episodes of hot goss. There’s a calming quality to the fact that the backgrounds of these interviews feature water or fountains or palm trees, while the clothes seem to pop with light, bright colors, as the concern in everyone’s voices will keep you watching. And with any luck, this series will not only shed a light on Lovato’s battle, but provide a reframing and an understanding for millions of people in order to help support those we care about most.

Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil premieres Tuesday, March 23rd on Demi Lovato’s YouTube Channel, with new episodes released weekly on Tuesdays.

Stream Demi Lovato: Dancing With The Devil on YouTube

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