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Lil Nas X: Long Live Montero review: A refreshingly candid peak behind the curtains

"What is most charming about the film is the person at its centre"

5.0 rating

By Alastair James

Lil Nas X
Lil Nas X: Long Live Montero (Image: Provided)

Like most documentaries based around a musical artist’s tour, Lil Nas X: Long Live Montero offers a peak behind the curtains as to how it all came together. As well as this, it also takes a look back at the singer-rapper’s musical origins as well as his personal relationships and how everything has changed as a result of fame.

What is most charming about the film is the person at its centre. Lil Nas X, confident, energetic, and at times bombastic on social media and in his music, shows off his softer and calmer side here, a side we don’t often see publicly. We see the thought behind every detail, the humour, and the vulnerability behind the facade.

Directors Carlos López Estrada and Zac Manuel give Lil Nas X’s queerness prominence in the documentary. At times the ‘Industry Baby’ singer is pondering how that aspect of his identity fits in with his faith. Other times we see him navigate how it plays into his relationships with family members. The film also looks into how Lil Nas X’s unapologetic expression of his queerness has impacted his fans, many getting a chance to address the camera personally and directly. Lil Nas X discusses the idea of being the “acceptable gay person” and the “one that doesn’t shove it down our throats.” Of course, we know he decided against this in favour of ultimate authenticity and we wouldn’t have it any other way!

“Lil Nas X is refreshingly candid about everything be it queerness or religion or family”

Even so, there are candid admissions that he is still not 100% himself around some family, who have no issue with his identity. Lil Nas X finds solace and comfort in his dancers with whom he feels he can be totally himself. Lil Nas X is refreshingly honest about everything be it queerness or religion as well as family. He speaks frankly about how his fame and money have impacted his family relationships.

The film also does a good job of showcasing the child-like wonder with which the ‘Panini’ singer appears to meet the world. Often this is expressed publicly but here we see it as entirely genuine. Towards the end, we see Lil Nas X muse on the impact his stage persona has had on the real him here meaning Montero. The conclusion is that it’s helped Montero “move more freely,” and “create more” is a rewarding and satisfying one for all involved.

We also get a brief insight into the artist’s next album. He wants it to be escapism. But rather than running away from something it’s about celebrating being “more alive.”

BFI Flare runs from 13-24 March 2024. Full details and tickets are available here.