J.Lo, what are you trying to tell us?
The trailer for This Is Me...Now: A Love Story — Jennifer Lopez's "narrative-driven cinematic odyssey, steeped in mythological storytelling and personal healing," according to the press release — is out now. In just over two minutes, there's a little of everything — singing, dancing, the suggestion that she's a "sex addict," a motorcycle crash and a trip to outer space. But there's zero of Ben Affleck's face and he's seemingly been stripped of his writing credit, for the Bennifer-curious.
What's 'This Is Me...Now' about?
The singer/dancer/actress is releasing her first studio album in 10 years, This Is Me...Now, on Feb. 16 — the same day this 65-minute Amazon Original film premieres — and it's a highly anticipated bookend to her 2002 smash This Is Me...Then. The original album was recorded before she and Affleck called off their engagement — and all these years later, they've reconciled, gotten married and are living happily ever after (despite what his face may sometimes tell us). The new album, now available for preorder, was delayed after being announced in 2022.
Lopez has called this sequel album a correction of the narrative around her, telling Vogue, "People think they know things about what happened to me along the way, the men I was with — but they really have no idea, and a lot of times they get it so wrong. There's a part of me that was hiding a side of myself from everyone. And I feel like I'm at a place in my life, finally, where I have something to say about it."
The film component, directed by Dave Meyers, "is like nothing you’ve ever seen from Jennifer Lopez," the press release promises. It's a "genre-bending" film that "showcases her journey to love through her own eyes. With fantastical costumes, breathtaking choreography, and star-studded cameos, this panorama is an introspective retrospective of Jennifer’s resilient heart."
On the Golden Globes red carpet, Lopez told Variety, "It’s definitely kind of a meta story about the journey that it takes from getting from heartbreak back to love."
So is this film a rom-com or sci-fi? Fact or fiction?
We've watched the trailer at least 10 times now and can say with authority: Your guess is as good as ours.
It certainly throws off rom-com and rom-dram vibes. At the start, she's on the back of a motorcycle — sans helmet, wind blowing through her hair — as presumably Ben (we can't see his face) drives her through marshlands.
"I know what they say about me," she says in a voice-over, as images of her with fictional love interests and husbands flash onscreen. "About hopeless romantics. That we're weak. And I'm not weak."
There are also multiple Pinterest-worthy weddings (with catchy dance numbers, including one through a garden maze, and a wedding gown with heart cutouts ) as well as jokes galore about how many times she's been married (four in real life).
But then there's also the motorcycle spinning out and Lopez being thrown, alluding to her 2003 Affleck breakup. There's a love intervention, during which she's told, "You may be a sex addict," which makes you wonder if it's fact or fiction, and a therapy session with Dr. Fat Joe (which is definitely in the fiction category).
Then wait — she's a dancing factory worker. (Lopez loves Flashdance.) She's back in da Bronx. She's on a gym floor. She's an insomniac. She's a child. She's in a hazmat suit channeling Outbreak. Or is it Star Wars? Dune? A Marvel movie? Singing in the Rain?
It's a two-minute journey of we don't know what, but we can't look away. Or stop wondering how much the rose petal budget was. But we know it's definitely about love because she tells us so in another voice-over: "Whenever someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was always: In love." Plus, there's a gigantic malfunctioning mechanical heart! Big love, folks.
Who's in it?
It's also hard not to play a game of: Is that supposed to be Ojani Noa... Cris Judd ... or Marc Anthony? Or wonder: Why Derek Hough? (He was her World of Dance co-star.)
It's also hard to not wonder if some of the lines — such as, "Being with you feels like home ... but I left home for a reason" and "She thinks I'm her employee" — came from exchanges during her real-life relationships?
The grooms — also Tony Bellissimo and Trevor Jackson — were previously featured in the video for her "Can't Get Enough" single, which dropped Jan. 10. A chunk of that video is part of the trailer.
There are many other famous faces, many not even featured in the trailer: Trevor Noah, Kim Petras, Post Malone, Keke Palmer, Sofia Vergara, Jenifer Lewis, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Sadhguru, Tony Bellissimo, Jay Shetty and Affleck.
Affleck is listed as having a "starring" role in the film, so the presumption is we'll see him. Right now, it's more like: That has to be him, right? ... with his face obscured in the motorcycle scene. After all, that's definitely a recreation of their famous Variety photoshoot.
We also wondered if it's him in this miniature proposal scene we need a magnifying glass to see...
Or this oddly lit moment with her and a Affleck-like 'stached and bearded guy with a flower pinned to his lapel.
Maybe the film will incorporate real footage of their Georgia wedding. After all, Shetty, who's also starring in the film but wasn't seen in the trailer, was their officiant.
But Affleck's role in the project has shifted over the last month.
Leading up to this, Lopez said the album is inspired by their reunion. She said it's dedicated to the Oscar winner. She said he wrote the film along with her and Matt Walton, and he was given a "Written by" credit in the original press release for the film. However, in the latest one, it says: "Written by: Jennifer Lopez, Matt Walton." No Ben. Maybe he didn't want the credit — after all, he got the girl — or maybe he was busy with other things. But it's noteworthy that he's no longer credited when it was something that had been touted earlier.
At the end of the day, this topsy-turvy screen adventure is about Lopez by Lopez. ("From the heart/dreams/soul of Jennifer Lopez," read the words on the screen at the start.) Since the late '90s when she broke through in Selena, she's been entertaining, hustling, reinventing and captivating us. There's no one quite like her.
According to her newsletter, Lopez is nervously anticipating sharing her artistic vision for whatever this film project turns out to be, writing, "I have not been this nervous, excited, scared and thrilled to share something with you in years!! The story of the journey from This Is Me…Then to This Is Me…Now is the most personal thing I’ve ever done ... I cannot wait for you to see it!"
The album drops and the musical experience streams on Prime Video on Feb. 16.