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TIFF21 Capsule Review: “Jagged” Showcases The Success of Alanis Morissette’s Most Famous Record and Its Aftermath

Alison Klayman’s documentary Jagged depicts Alanis Morrisette’s life, particularly the beginnings of her extremely successful album, Jagged Little Pill, and the tour that followed.

Alanis Morrisette

Alanis Morissette’s dark, wavy hair falling over her face, the role of speechless God in Dogma, or Ironic – the audience all over the world recognizes her for a variety of reasons. Throughout the years, the Canadian musician released several successful albums. There is, however, one that started it all. Alison Klayman’s documentary Jagged depicts Alanis Morissette’s life, particularly the beginnings of her extremely successful album, Jagged Little Pill, and the tour that followed.

As Alanis sits in the chair in front of the camera with her legs folded, she explains that Jagged Little Pill was an attempt to become empowered. The singer talks about the writing, her childhood tv show titled You Can’t Do That On Television, shooting videos, and about You Oughta Know, the song from the album that essentially sparked her career and made her famous after airing on KROQ-FM. 

But Jagged is more than just an illustration of Alanis’ efforts to create one of the most successful albums in the world. As the documentary progresses, the musician delves deeper into more serious issues, such as her struggle with eating disorder and Hollywood’s rape culture. “Women don’t wait. Culture doesn’t listen,” she says why we hear about women coming out with accusations years later.

As Jagged progresses, there is a furthermore discussion about partly negative reception of the record. Many interviewees mention it in talks with the producers and express their frustration with the critics and, specifically, male critics’ response to the “female rage” emanating from Morissette’s album.

In summary, Jagged is a film about Alanis Morissette’s most famous album and its execution, but it goes deeper than this sole topic. It discusses the singer’s life after her worldwide fame erupted and the depth of of her lyrics. It showcases the maturity of then 19-year-old musician and the way she handled sudden fame and stress that goes with it.

It means even more to me to see the work on Jagged Little Pill because it is my favorite Alanis Morissette album. Growing up, it had a big influence on me, especially You Oughta Know and Ironic. The documentary hits home even more for those who have personal ties to the album. It’s a must-see for music fans, Alanis fans, and those who have yet to discover the singer’s angelic voice and powerful lyrics.

Despite recent reports that the singer doesn’t want anything to do with the new HBO Max documentary, it’s still worthy to view the documentary and see the path to creating Jagged Little Pill.

Grade: A


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