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I Am: Celine Dion film review: Earnest vulnerability

Céline Dion has her hands up in the air wearing a green vest in the 2024 film I Am: Celine Dion

I Am: Celine Dion is an earnest, vulnerable look at the singer’s struggles with Stiff Person Syndrome and her fierce desire to return to the stage once again.

Director: Irene Taylor
Genre: Documentary, Biography
Run Time: 103′
Global Release: June 25, 2024
Where to watch: Prime Video

“If I can’t walk, I’ll crawl, but I won’t stop.” These are some of the inspirational yet shattering words spoken in the new Amazon Prime Video documentary I Am: Celine Dion, as the Canadian singer gets candid about her debilitating struggles with Stiff-Person Syndrome (SPS).

Back in 2022, Dion announced in a video message to her fans that she had been diagnosed with the neurological disorder. However, in I Am Celine Dion, she shares that the writing was on the wall many years prior. During some of her shows, the star would struggle to hit certain notes. A choked-up Dion admits that, at times, she blamed her inability to sing on a microphone malfunction. In other instances, she had no choice but to leave the stage, unable to return.

I Am: Celine Dion documents the star’s journey living with SPS and the devastating outcome the condition has had on her life and career. For those who don’t know, stiff-person syndrome is a rare disorder that causes muscle pain and spasms. At times, Dion finds it challenging to walk, and the muscle spasms associated with the condition have severely impacted her ability to sing.

In I Am Celine Dion, director Irene Taylor captures the singer at her most vulnerable, with the majority of interviews being conducted in Dion’s Las Vegas home. Since her diagnosis and due to the challenging symptoms caused by the disorder, the star explains that she doesn’t leave the house much, and it’s where she now spends much of her time.

Even if you’re not a fan of Céline Dion’s music, there’s no denying that she’s one of the most influential singers of all time. During the documentary, viewers witness archived footage of various performances she has given all over the world as the crowds go wild, singing along to her greatest hits. With every performance, the star’s powerhouse voice pierces through your soul, and you’re reminded of her incredible range. She adored being on stage, and her voice was a true gift.

I Am: Celine Dion is brutally honest and incredibly difficult to watch. It’s heartbreaking to see that the very thing Dion loved to do and that made her an icon has been stripped from her, especially when you learn that SPS affects 1-2 people per million. What are the chances that one of the world’s best singers would be stricken with such a challenging illness? It’s a harsh reality, especially when you see the impact the disorder has on the star’s daily life.

Céline Dion makes a fist with her hand in a sign of strength in the 2024 film I Am: Celine Dion
I Am: Celine Dion (Courtesy of Amazon MGM Studios © Amazon Content Services LLC)

During one part of I Am Celine Dion, the audience witnesses Dion experiencing a seizure during an appointment with her physical therapist. It’s one of the most harrowing scenes you’ll ever see and really puts into perspective the seriousness of the singer’s disorder. Dion’s choice to keep it in the documentary is a testament to her openness and honesty. Though SPS is extremely challenging, the star wants to bear all to her fans and share what the condition is like to live with.

It’s also incredibly upsetting to see Dion reminisce on all her past shows and speak so admiringly about her fans. The singer shares how hard it was to cancel her Las Vegas residency and let so many people down, as if she had broken a sacred promise. As a viewer, you just want to jump through the television screen, give her a hug, and tell her that her health comes first and her fans won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

While watching I Am Celine Dion, you realize just how resilient, strong, and genuine the singer is as a person. Though she has endured so much tragedy, she is determined to return to the stage, stopping at nothing to make that dream a reality and perform once again for her dedicated fans.

I Am: Celine Dion is an earnest and vulnerable look at the difficulties that come with living with a debilitating disorder and Dion’s unwavering hope to heal. Through her health journey, the star has still managed to keep her quirky sense of humor and fierce spirit, with her bravery being the loudest voice in the room.

I Am: Celine Dion is now available to watch on Prime Video. Read our reviews of the Céline Dion-starring Love Again and Céline Dion Tribute Aline!

I Am: Celine Dion Trailer (Prime Video)
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