Presenting Princess Shaw is the supposed to be heartwarming story of Princess Shaw, a woman who overcomes obstacles and hardships throughout her life, dreams of singing and tells her story via vlogs on YouTube. Some act as a video diary for her life while others are original songs that she writes and sings on camera in the hopes of someone noticing.
After going through the motions for years and trying to push forward in her career, a famous YouTuber takes notice of Princess and through his musical compilation videos (musical montages), he jump starts Princess’ career and gives her the platform that she’s been trying to find all this time.
I wish I could say that I loved this movie. The whole idea behind the documentary is great: follow your dreams and keep doing what you love and someday those dreams might come true. However, overall the whole thing felt pretty poorly executed.
Kutiman is the name of the man who puts Princess into one of his compilation videos and make her a viral internet video star, however, outside of a few brief statements, you never really hear what drove him to use Princess as a muse and to compose several pieces around her songs. You hear him discuss with someone that it’s crazy how she doesn’t know this is all happening until it’s published online but not much more. You hear nothing about his process and nothing about why he felt driven to help Princess find her place in the world.
You could definitely give the argument that the documentary is meant to profile Princess and not Kutiman but he’s a key part of what made her gain notice and it felt sort of lacking to not hear more from him regarding the whole thing.
Princess, as mentioned, has overcome a LOT in her life. She touches on her childhood and being sexually abused at various times in her life. She talks about being the protector of her siblings and their guardian angel. It’s not that I didn’t feel for her when she was telling these stories but it felt more like she was telling them to HAVE a sob story rather than to share and discuss and overcome what happened. I don’t know. I felt like I should’ve been a lot more torn up to hear her backstory but it felt disingenuous to me. That’s a nitpick, I suppose but I think for a documentary like this to work, you need to feel invested in the focus and the filmmakers did a poor job of making her into a real person to me. It was a scattered set of stories that didn’t really add up to “Oh my gosh, she just NEEDS THIS” to me.
I honestly feel like kind of a dick to say that. I don’t think it’s a reflection of Princess as a person, I think it’s more of how the story was told which falls more on the creators of Presenting Princess Shaw.
The film is a slow burn and not enough happens in it. It’s an 83 minute film that took me two days to get through because I kept pausing to go do other things. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t compelling enough to hold my interest for long periods of time.
Ehhhhhhh… Presenting Princess Shaw is something I would maybe have watched if it was on TV and I didn’t have anything else readily available but I wouldn’t say that it’s something you need to actively seek out to watch. The best parts of the film are the montages that Kutiman puts together and the performance in Israel which feature Princess’ song “Give It Up” (a song that with Kutiman’s musical accompaniment was legit amazing).
So I guess I’d say that if you feel like you want to watch any part of the film, seek that out.