A new peer-behind-the-curtains documentary is about to drop on Netflix in the same vein as Lady Gaga’s Five Foot Two or The Beatles Get Back, and this time it’s centered on the hardest working woman in Hollywood, Jennifer Lopez.
Entitled Halftime and directed by Amanda Micheli, the no-holds-barred documentary premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and offered a series of revelations into the life, career and struggles of the “Jenny From The Block” icon.
There’s lots of things we learn in the documentary that perhaps we already knew – she has the strongest work ethic of anyone in the business - but we also are privy to some never-before-seen footage and backstage conversations that led to her legendary Super Bowl halftime show alongside Colombian superstar Shakira.
Here's everything we've learned from the documentary so far.
The documentary opens on JLo’s 50th birthday with her saying she feels like her life is only just beginning. As we know, two years ago, she was still engaged to Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez. In 2021, they broke off their engagement after his cheating rumours, and she has since become re-engaged to her 2002 lost love, Argo director Ben Affleck.
None of that is really explored in the documentary (sorry if you were hoping for some truly juicy tea to spill). Ben does appear in the documentary however, in a 30-second talking-head clip where he lauds her work ethic, ethos, and attitude towards the media.
Though JLo has had some famous love affairs in the 30 years since she rose to stardom (Sean P. Diddy Combs, Cris Judd, and Marc Anthony) it was a conscious choice not to include her love life. Director Micheli explained why the relationships aren’t delved into, telling USA Today, “For me personally, I wasn't interested in doing an exposé on Jennifer's relationships, but it was important that we at least touch on that. I think we found the right balance."
When Hustlers was released, the “If You Had My Love” singer was critically lauded for her brave and bold performance, and she was widely favoured to snag an Oscars nomination. She did nab a Golden Globe nom, her first since her breakout role in Selena back in 1997.
But as we all know, the Bronx native was snubbed for an Oscar (it instead went to Laura Dern for Marriage Story), and her disappointment at not achieving this career milestone is explored in the documentary. She even expresses at one point that she feels like she’s let her entire team down.
During her Hustlers high, it’s announced that both Jenny and Colombian songstress Shakira will share the Super Bowl halftime stage. While we now consider their dual performance to be the stuff of historic legends, at the time, both Jen and her longtime manager Benny Medina found it to be a slight against both women due to their ethnicity.
“This was the worst idea in the world to have two people do the Super Bowl,” J.Lo expresses, clearly ticked off, adding that the logistics for a dual performance will prove to be “a nightmare from the beginning.”
She’s not mad at Shakira for this, and even calls the “Whenever, Wherever” singer to vent, telling her, “If it was gonna be a double headliner, they should've given us 20 f***king minutes!"
This is all due to the fact that most halftime performers throughout history have received around 20 minutes of performance time, whereas J.Lo and Shakira are forced to split a mere 12 minutes, leaving the “Waiting For Tonight” singer only six minutes to pull off a show to her liking. Benny Medina flat out calls this decision by the NFL a racist one, saying it’s, “an insult. You need two Latina women to do what has always been done by one performer?”
As we saw with JLo’s halftime set, she was deeply invested in countering then-POTUS Trump’s message of anti-immigration, and her show began with children in illuminated cages, breaking free into a chorus of “Let’s Get Loud” and Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA," as J.Lo emerged draped in the Puerto Rican flag. The NFL tried to water down her message and even tried to get her to drop her message altogether, the documentary shows.
Medina says that “the highest authority in the NFL” has ordered her to cut the cages completely, and also to remove the “Venus” symbol for women on stage because it’s “too political.” Jen is clearly having none of it, telling Medina her show is about humanity, not politics. In the end, she got her way.
In January 2021, JLo performed “This Land Is Your Land” and “America The Beautiful” weaving in “Let’s Get Loud” and some encouraging words in Spanish at Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony. It’s the closer for the documentary, which made a splash this past Wednesday when it premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, screening at the United Palace Theatre in NYC’s Washington Heights, not far from where the “I’m Real” singer grew up in the Bronx.
The documentary will drop on Netflix on June 14.