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Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour ★★★★



Director: Sam Wrench

Release: 13th October 2023

“It’s been a long time coming,” Taylor Swift sings as she opens her extraordinary Billion-dollar Eras tour. Influential isn’t the only word to describe Swift at this point. She is one of the main pioneers in the modern day of making music. Unlike her previous tours that have sold out, this specific moment has changed lives. At 33 years old, she has fuelled a social media frenzy and transformed the economy in ways no person has before. Following on from the summer’s Barbenheimer craziness, things went relatively quiet in the world of cinema until the Eras Tour film announcement, and suddenly, she not only dominated the stage of all streaming services but now the art of cinema.

The film follows Swift’s completion of the first leg of her tour, which takes the singer down memory lane, delving into 17 years of work and every album she has ever released with a carefully curated set list (including a surprise song every night). Filmed over three nights at her sold-out dates at LA’s SoFi Stadium in August, it is one big hug from the singer to her fans. A thank you to those in attendance, those yet to attend, but most importantly, to allow those who were unsuccessful in the stressful act of getting tickets to be involved in the show’s magic. During the film’s premiere, she stated that the tour has become an instant “core memory” for her, but this is also the same for fans. Since the tour started in March, fans have spent months preparing their unique costumes and hand-made friendship bracelets and wholly immersed themselves within Taylor’s fantastic world.

The Eras Tour film is a bubble-gum daydream directed by Sam Wrench, who has previously worked with artists such as Billie Eilish, Blur, and BTS. A glitter-lust spectacle. This is how you document a concert via videography. The phone lights of over 70,000 audience members arguably stealing the spotlight from Miss Swift at times was an emotional feat, mainly because many of us have grown up with her music. It’s not just her extraordinarily outrageous yet stunning talent that has made this tour a success, but the way her fans adore every ounce of her. A perfect example of fans’ adoration is when they made Taylor’s 2019 Lover track Cruel Summer a number 1 hit, with her releasing it as a single this year and releasing the Eras Tour live version to add to its viral moment. Wrench perfectly captures Swift in motion, from how she interacts with her fans to the close-up shots of some of her outfits – including the infamous Lover sparkle bodysuit and the lilac princess-like gown she dons for the Speak Now segment. She’s the epitome of our superwoman. Someone we look up to. You can spend five minutes on Tik-Tok to see fans carefully studying her tour looks and spending countless hours replicating them. Wrench’s stage shots are other-worldly, including her dancers and just Swift solo on the ever-so-large stage, exploring the insane depths of her stardom. It’s hard not to be in awe of the delicate details that have made this show one for the history books.

Swift is no stranger to film studio work, having previously collaborated with Netflix to release the Reputation Stadium Tour concert film in 2018 and the passionate documentary Miss Americana in 2020. The big film studios failed to follow suit from the summer extravaganza of cinema uniqueness that was Oppenheimer and Barbie’s same-day release by choosing not to deal with Swift. Instead, she managed to strike up an unprecedented distribution agreement with AMC Theatres and Cinemark Theatres, with a complete interim agreement with SAG-AFTRA that does not go against the Hollywood Strikes guidelines. All of this is a testament to the power that Swift withholds within the industry. Netflix might have needed her, but she doesn’t need them to create an iconic crossover moment in music and film.

Everyday cinema practices of staying hush-hush are out of the window at the screenings. Instead, it felt like its own intimate show. Singing every lyric to songs such as Karma, All Too Well (10 min version) and Love Story and getting out of our seats for a little dance sesh without beady eyes rolling at us. It was a refreshing cinematic opportunity—nearly 3 hours of pure, honest fun. To be the bearer of one criticism, the film’s ticket price tag of £19.89 feels wrong. This has been an ongoing discussion regarding the tour itself, following a unique ticketing system that Ticketmaster brought in within the UK sale. Despite standard prices costing within the margin of £50 – £194.75, with VIP packages starting from £196.60 to over £600, the resale and leftovers tickets are way over triple the amount. Music concerts are a money-making game for those big players involved (excluding Swift in this comment), a profitable opportunity – but one for consumers that is not realistic. But guess what? Fans will still cough up. Why? Because this is a tour that hasn’t been done before, and for the apparent reason, we adore Taylor Swift. It’s a moment of nostalgia for those who have grown up with her. The average adult cinema ticket price in the UK is roughly £10. While it’s understandable that the Eras Tour film is an exceptional opportunity for cinema-goers to attend, there is no difference between seeing a concert film and a regular film such as Scorsese’s 3-hour 26-minute Killers of the Flower Moon. The ticket price acts as a promotion for her upcoming re-recording of the utterly brilliant album 1989, which is set for release on October 27th. It’s a clever concept, but it raises questions of whether that is a good enough reason to charge such an amount. Regardless, whatever Swift comes out with it, we already have our bank cards ready.

Taylor Swift is an icon who understands our love for fall, relationship issues, our need for lasting friendships, etc. The Eras Tour film celebrates all her success in nearly two decades of guiding us through life’s heartaches. Swift’s music is like a potion for contentment; we can’t get enough. Thankfully, this tour allows us to delve back into our childhoods and grow alongside Taylor. Long live our favourite hopeless romantic.

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