Anyone familiar with Miley Cyrus’ VMA performance or her “We Can’t Stop” and “Wrecking Ball” videos knows that this isn’t a woman who’s hesitated to give us an extremely intimate look at the inner machinations of both her mind and thighs as evidenced by her willingness to wear tight white Spandex, get digitally familiar with an outsized foam finger, and straddle demolition materials with nothing but the radio on.
We’ve already seen Miley naked as the day Tish gave birth to a miracle of country twerk. So what could she possibly have left to reveal in her “Miley The Movement” MTV documentary? A lot, actually. Like the fact that she’s isn’t just a young woman willing to strip naked, or, say, take more photos with her tongue out than the sum total of non-tongue photos most human beings will ever take in their lifetime. She’s a young woman who’s building a dream and a movement. To quote the late (spoiler alert) Walter White, she’s in the empire business. Like Madonna before her, she’s playing the long game (particularly since she’s been playing it since she was 11) and, to paraphrase her idol, Britney, who appears in the documentary and on her upcoming Bangerz album, she calls the shots. She’s defining her life and her career on her terms, in her time, on her turf, no regrets, apologies or acts of contrition.
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Miley’s MTV documentary is a portrait of the artist as a young woman and a young woman as an artist, a business, and a brand. A young woman who’s passionate, driven, unstoppable, and capable of calculating her every move — yes, even down to the first and last twerk. From crafting and carefully guarding her own image, to making the music she wants to make, Miley’s creating, twerking, swinging naked on a wrecking ball and reveling in her new role of playing bête noire to any knee-jerk hater on one person’s terms — hers.
“Miley The Movement” is a compulsively watchable, magnetic hour of Miley realness (no, I’m not just saying that because I work here — I’d be glued to this ish even if it weren’t my job). It’s the gospel according to Destiny Hope, and it confirmed, definitively, once and for all, that just because you take your clothes off for Terry Richardson or grind up on Robin Thicke doesn’t mean you’re automatically a slut or that you haven’t thought about the repercussions of your actions or your art (in her own words, it’s a “strategic hot mess”) or that you don’t have a family that loves you or that you don’t have pride in your work. Those things aren’t mutually exclusive.
We learned a lot from Miley in her “Miley The Movement,” like that she may have a body for twerking and stripping naked, but she’s got a mind for business and an eye for perfection, and she’s not involved in any decisions or putting her name or face on anything that she hasn’t signed off on (again, sound like another pop queen’s blond ambition?) But mostly we learned that you’re free to join her movement, and you’re free to ignore it, but you can’t stop it, and it’s not going anywhere.
+ Watch “Miley: The Movement” in its entirety, and don’t miss the deluxe edition of “Miley: The Movement” on MTV Sunday, Oct. 6 at 8 p.m., featuring a full 90 minutes of extended scenes and never-seen-before clips.
GIFs by T. Kyle MacMahon of RealityTVGIFs.tumblr.com