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One Direction: This is Us Movie Review

Reviewed by on Aug 30, 2013
Rating: 4 Star Rating

Kidzworld got into an early screening of the new documentary movie One Direction: This is Us. We review the film that focuses on the mega-popular band on the road, with family, on stage and more!

Where did Harry have his first kiss? How do the guys’ parents still influence their lives? Do fans recognize them when they are disguised as old ladies and chubby old men? Which band member used to sing at 3 A.M. as a child? You’ll get these answers and more when you see One Direction: This is Us.

The guys performingThe guys performing

The Backstory

Each band member tells us the story of his working class childhood; showing off, singing into the night. Not one of the guys (Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan or Zayn Malik) expected his talent to hit mega-stardom. Later in the film, Simon Cowell talks about the boys performing and competing separately on the Brit talent show “X-Factor” in 2010 and, as solo artists, not winning.

With Simon Cowell at the premiere in LondonWith Simon Cowell at the premiere in London

When he put them together as a band and brought them back, their great voices and cute looks blended perfectly and their fans took it from there. They didn’t really know one another and their first “practice” at Harry’s dad’s place was more of a meet, greet and bonding experience. Once they performed as a band, the fans increased from a few hundred to thousands.

Harry singingHarry singing

Off on Tour and Holiday

The film chronicles One Direction’s “Take Me Home” Tour which covered 11 countries over 5 months and was a total sell-out. We see the band at the giant London O2 Arena (where Michael Jackson would have performed) and note how overwhelmed they feel there. We follow them to Belgium, Sweden, Japan, Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Mexico, U.S. and more and enjoy their time off fishing and camping. On one free day, Harry shows us the countryside where he had his first kiss.

Louis, Zayn and Niall in a rehearsal roomLouis, Zayn and Niall in a rehearsal room

At one point in the tour, Niall tweets that the fans should show up wearing orange at the next concert and, like social media wildfire, the word spreads until both the guys and their devotees look like a sea of pumpkin orange when the guys perform. Niall, on making it through thousands of fans to get on the tour bus says “I wish I could stop and tell each fan what they’ve done for me”.

Louis and Niall between songsLouis and Niall between songs

The boys look genuinely afraid in one locale while just trying to shop in a sports store when word of their presence spreads until the store is surrounded by crazed fans pounding on the windows. After the guys escape, Liam admits “A girl grabbed by ear and wanted to keep it!” He also freaks out at a huge stand up cardboard image of him that his mom has placed in his room.

Louis takes us on a tour of the Toys R Us store he worked in as a kid “Hey, there we are on a lunchbox right next to Spider-Man!” Harry goes back to work briefly at his family bakery where the friendly old-lady workers there grab his “bum”.  Parents talk about their sons with great emotion and gratitude in the film. They all seemed to have faith in their son’s talent but still can’t believe how huge the band has become.

Liam Payne performingLiam Payne performing

The guys recorded their next album while on tour and we see that most of the time they were just exhausted, wakened from sleep after only 10 minutes etc. Niall just records in his boxers, hoping to get some more zzz’s afterwards. Despite the long hours and exhaustion Harry says “I could do this until I was all weathered and people were asking why I’m still alive.” Hey, why not? It works for Mick Jagger!

The 1D guys catch the silly bugThe 1D guys catch the silly bug

Wrapping Up

One Direction: This is Us is a slickly-produced concert tour movie that also contains some intimate solo time with each band member and includes moments of silly laughter and pranks as well as some heartfelt scenes in which the guys deal with parents and the stress of their fame.

If you believe the movie, it’s all about the fans! I overheard teen and tween fans in my audience saying “The only thing wrong with it is it’s not long enough!”  The movie never stops stressing that the fans made this band successful. 3D effects aren’t really needed except in the concert scenes where they are put to good use.

Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Mailik and Naill HoranHarry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Mailik and Naill Horan

The guys say things like “Okay, so we are a boy band but we’re a cool boy band so what evs!” The movie lets us know how the group differs from other boy bands; they don’t dress alike, don’t do choreographed dances and each member is a lead singer in his own right.  

We are sure that a lot of what actually happened on tour has been “sanitized” and made squeaky-clean for the film but the guys come off as sweet, vulnerable yet cocky-fun as they get teary-eyed around parents, worry about the future, say they really couldn’t take it on the road as solo acts and go all Beatles-silly dressing up like old women, security guards and fat, lonely old men to fool fans for a laugh.

Zayn performingZayn performing

The guys’ romantic lives are never explored and only a few moments are “real” glimpses into what makes each band member tick but let’s face it, if you are a 1D fan, you’ll see this movie no matter what but if you don’t care either way, you will still be entertained. Your mom and even your dad will probably enjoy it too and identify with some of the parents’ comments. For a band documentary, One Direction This is Us is well-edited, looks great and, more importantly sounds great. The film accomplishes what it set out to do… and that’s not bad. We’ll go 4 stars.

One Direction: This is Us Movie Rating: 4

The PosterThe Poster

One Direction: This is Us is in theathers August 30th!