10 things we learned about Taylor Swift in Miss Americana
Also: 3 things we did not.
This year’s Sundance Film Festival kicked off Thursday night with the premieres of eight features — including Lana Wilson’s Miss Americana, an intimate, insightful documentary chronicling the last few years in the life of Taylor Swift.
Fans crowded the Park City premiere, singing songs outside the theater and reacting strongly throughout the film. But what does the new doc, which unveils the new song “Only the Young” and hits Netflix at the end of the month, actually tell Swifties about the country-pop superstar? We broke down the biggest revelations (and a few items we didn’t learn a thing about).
1. She cares so much more than you ever suspected about what people think of her
Swift opens up from the very beginning of the doc about her lifelong anxiety about being a “good girl,” how the career of a performer is for the “intrinsically insecure,” and how, at various points in her life, she lived for nothing other than the approval of strangers.
2. She has struggled with an eating disorder
Paparazzi photos and critical online comments about her appearance “would trigger me to just starve,” for a period of her life, she confesses. She had to re-teach herself that food is what gives her the strength to perform, and the myth of a perfect body is “just f—ing impossible.”
3. How she collaborates, and her own creative process
One of the doc’s most triumphant moments comes when she and Jack Antonoff finally land on the lyrics for “Getaway Car.”
4. How hard it was for her to take a political stance
When Swift made her first-ever public political endorsements during the 2018 midterms, it may have seen like a simple Instagram post, but Miss Americana documents the fight she had to put up with her team — who told her the move would cut her fanbase in half — in order to make a statement. She was determined, however, insisting, “I need to be on the right side of history.”
5. Winning her sexual assault case gave her no feeling of victory
“The process is so dehumanizing,” she says in the doc. And she had to go through it “with seven witnesses and a photo. What happens when you get raped and it’s your word against his?” The harrowing experience was a turning point that put her on the path to use her voice to effect change.
6. How lonely it is at the top
After winning her second Album of the Year Grammy, for 1989 in 2016, Swift — who was still running on an increased desperation to prove herself after the humiliation of Kanye West’s infamous VMAs interruption — realized, “oh my god, that was all [I] wanted,” and that she had no one to share her success with, and no one had been with her on the journey. “I didn’t have a partner. I didn’t have anyone I could talk to,” she recalls in the doc. “Shouldn’t I have someone?”
7. She drinks white wine with ice in it
8. She carries her cats in a backpack with a round window
She also confirmed in the screening Q&A that Meredith Grey, Olivia Benson, and Benjamin Button were all at home and thoroughly disinterested in the fact that she was having an enormous film premiere at the Eccles theater on the opening night of Sundance.
9. She did not discover burritos until she was approx. 26
Ordering dinner during a Lover session, she drops the bomb that she, Taylor Swift, had never tried them “until like two years ago.”
10. She doesn’t give a f— if Trump goes after her for expressing her political beliefs.
Not a single one.
And here’s what we did NOT learn…
1. Anything about the squad, the Fourth of July parties, or any ex-boyfriends.
Swift’s dating history only comes up in the context of the obsessive media consumption of it. The squad appears even less.
2. Anything about her romance with Joe Alwyn
She reiterates the common knowledge that they decided to make their relationship private, almost as a warning not to hold your breath for glimpses of him in the doc. He does appear, briefly, backstage after a performance.
3. Anything about the Scooter Braun drama
That will have to go in the next one.
Miss Americana will hit Netflix on Jan. 31. For the latest from Park City, follow EW’s coverage of Sundance here.