"I still feel like I'm beginning," Cyrus says in her new MTV documentary.
Miley Cyrus has no regrets.
That's the takeaway from — or at least, the oft-repeated message in — Miley: The Movement (* * out of four), the MTV documentary that premieres Wednesday (10 p.m. ET/PT).
The Movement was conceived earlier this year, presumably as a means of promoting the 20-year-old TV and pop veteran's upcoming album,Bangerz, out Oct. 8. As anyone reading this knows, Cyrus kicked that campaign into high gear awhile ago with a series of provocative gestures — the most notorious being the twerk seen 'round the world at August's MTV Video Music Awards, which Cyrus memorably describes here as a "strategic hot mess."
But what else would you expect? Show business is, essentially, all that this still-very-young woman has known. "There's no life for me other than entertaining," she says in one interview segment. Mother Tish Cyrus, a prominent presence in the film, notes that the younger Cyrus "gave up her childhood" — as if that decision had been made without parental consent.
Father Billy Ray Cyrus wasn't interviewed for the documentary, which follows his daughter over roughly three months, mostly at public appearances — culminating, of course, with the VMAs. Even more conspicuous in his absence is Cyrus' former fiancé, Liam Hemsworth, whose split with her made news two weeks ago.
Instead, Pharrell Williams, one of her collaborators on Bangerz, turns up to vouch for Cyrus' character and authenticity. She's "still evolving," Williams says, praising her "crazy" voice and calling her "a byproduct of America."
That Cyrus is. She tells us so, not in those precise words, but in how she presents her goals and defines contemporary fame. Defending her creative choice at the VMAs, she says, "You want to make history. ... Everything's about what's going to be the big moment in pop culture."
Cyrus cites similar "moments" provided by Madonna and Britney Spears. The latter, Cyrus' idol and a guest on Bangerz, chats with her in a cute segment; Cyrus tells Spears that she has been a Madonna-like inspiration "to my whole generation."
Throughout Miley, Cyrus comes across as good-humored and grateful to her fans, the "army" driving her titular movement. She greets admirers with seemingly genuine enthusiasm after a radio interview and a Good Morning America appearance.
"Now people really get to see what the movement is all about," the former child star says, later adding, "Right now, I still feel like I'm beginning."
Cyrus is certainly entitled to that perspective at her age. Let's just hope that her unfolding story doesn't become yet another cautionary tale.