When Jennifer Lopez first announced her musical movie masterpiece This Is Me…Now: A Love Story, the resounding response was the same: “What the hell is this?”
“Please fucking watch this batshit trailer,” one person pleaded. Another praised Lopez’s dramatic narration. Some commented on the seemingly massive budget. But one person may have said it best: “Starring as yourself in your own musical about your life should be one of the goals, like, this is kind of everything.”
You’d be forgiven for being shocked by the film’s trailer, which I previously described as Cloud Atlas-meets-RRR, put into a Marvel Cinematic Universe blender and seemingly directed by Martin Scorsese when he was in his Hugo era. It is genuinely jarring, an unexpected level of visual ambition from an artist who has not released a full-length album since 2014. By just the teaser alone, it was clear that J.Lo was looking to make up for lost time and catch up to her pop peers with a spectacle all her own.
But more than that, Lopez was aiming to tell her story. She had some things to get off her chest, feelings that weren’t covered in her 2022 documentary Halftime or by decades of tabloid scrutiny. The trailer promised a tale from the “heart, soul, dreams” of the music superstar, and saw Lopez traversing into outer space, run-down factories, desert oases, and back to the good ol’ Bronx—call her J. L’Odysseus. It was the kind of undertaking that no one expected to receive from Lopez, but one that will be welcomed when it hits Prime Video on Feb. 16.
There are, however, so many more questions than answers just from the movie’s trailer alone, not to mention that This Is Me…Now, the album, is dropping in conjunction with the movie musical. As The Daily Beast’s Obsessed’s foremost J.Lo scholar, I too sought answers. Ahead of the film’s streaming release, God smiled down on me, took my palm, gave it a little squeeze, and led me to a screening of This Is Me…Now: A Love Story. Let’s see if I can’t answer some of your most burning queries.
How long is the movie?
This information has been one of the most fabled matters surrounding This Is Me…Now: A Love Story’s release, and I set out to get the truth. Ideally, this would be a three-hour affair, but there’s also something to be said about a classic dose of something short but sweet. The movie’s official runtime is listed as 65 minutes on its Letterboxd page, and I clocked it at just about the same time on my phone’s stopwatch. Shave off a couple of minutes for the pre-recorded theatrical introduction from Lopez that accompanied my screening, and you’re looking at spending an hour inside the mind of J.Lo for the first time since The Cell.
Will the movie be in theaters?
No public screenings have been announced at the time of publishing, but fingers crossed for some kind of one-night event in major cities across America. I’m not privy to the budget for this film, but by the estimation of my own two working eyes, it looks like it cost about 62 billion dollars; I’d assume that someone, somewhere along the way, wants to make some money off of this. But this is J.Lo’s passion project, it’s probably enough for her that her big, beating heart is reaching the masses. Still, the demand is clearly there to see it on the silver screen. If Fergie can do it for her 2017 visual album, what’s to say Jenny from the AMC A-List Stubs Membership can’t too?
What is This Is Me…Now: A Love Story even about?
I am forbidden from saying too much about the plot by the powers that be, but I can tell you that it is a work of musical autofiction. Jennifer Lopez muses about her life in the public eye and her childhood, but discusses these things through a common thread of her superstar romances—and their breakups. It is indeed a love story, just like the title says it is. But it’s a film about all kinds of love, as you’ll see. No one can say it better than Jen herself, as she did in the YouTube description of the trailer: “This panorama is an introspective retrospective of Jennifer’s resilient heart.” Damn, that’s good.
How many songs from the album are in the film, and which ones are they?
Seven songs from the 13-track album This Is Me…Now have extended sequences in the movie, each one like its own music video that weaves together a larger narrative. These songs are “Hearts and Flowers,” “Rebound,” “Can’t Get Enough,” “Broken Like Me,” “Hummingbird,” “This Is Me…Now,” and “Midnight Trip to Vegas.” Other selections play in the background of a couple of scenes, as well as a few additional songs in the credits, like “Dear Ben Pt. II,” “Mad In Love,” and “Greatest Love Story Never Told.” You can get a glimpse of the abridged version of the “Can’t Get Enough” sequence in the first music video that Lopez released for the album.
Level with me: What’s with that giant cast list of random celebrities? Who do they play?
Ah, you mean the one that includes such huge names like Keke Palmer, Sofía Vergara, Jennifer Lewis, Kim Petras, Trevor Noah, and (of course) Mr. J.Lo and the film’s co-writer himself, Ben Affleck? To reveal too much would spoil some of the fun of watching the movie—and probably land me in a freezer somewhere in Los Angeles with my blood supplying an exclusive capsule collection of Delola spritzes. But I can reveal a few tidbits.
Ben Affleck’s role is entirely unexpected, so much so that he didn’t even register to me when my eyes met his. Kim Petras, Post Malone, Jennifer Lewis, Trevor Noah, Keke Palmer, Sofía Vergara, Jay Shetty, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Sadhguru, and some very special guest stars have integral roles in the film. They’re intent on helping Jen through her heartbreak and guiding her toward the clarity she’s been seeking. Everyone was very clearly excited to ham it up for something just slightly less serious than they normally work on.
Fat Joe, as we know from closely studying the film’s trailer, plays J.Lo’s therapist. Derek Hough is one of our star’s multitude of husbands. And Jennifer? Well, baby, she’s just J.Lo. She has to be playing herself. This is, after all, her now.