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It was reported yesterday that Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez may be riding the 6 train to Splitsville. It is also possible that everything is actually fine and the gossipverse is reading too much into a few weeks of perfectly innocuous house-hunting, solo event-attending, and indiscriminate liking of Instagram posts about partners with problematic communication styles; we don’t know anything you don’t know. But if this news cycle has you feeling an above-average level of curiosity about the inner workings of the Benniferlationship, there’s one 2024 movie you need to watch immediately.

In February, Jennifer Lopez released her first studio album in almost a decade, This Is Me…Now, and This Is Me…Now: A Love Story, a meta-autobiographical filmed companion to that album directed by music-video legend Dave Meyers; two weeks later, Lopez dropped The Greatest Love Story Never Told, a documentary by Jason Bergh about the making of Meyers’ J-Lo film. In the occasionally campy but unhateably earnest This is Me…Now: A Love Story, Lopez plays a character called “Artist” who endures a series of troubled relationships, confers with a therapist played by Fat Joe and a pantheon of Zodaical deities including Kim Petras, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Jane Fonda and Post Malone, and refuses to stop believing in true love. It’s basically J-Lo’s Lemonade, if instead of being about putting Jay-Z on blast, Lemonade had been an allegorical film about how Ben Affleck’s love heals all wounds, and it’s a crucial piece of the puzzle of this moment in Bennifer history—but we recommend watching it second. Start with Bergh’s making-of film, a map that feels bigger than the territory it covers.

We are not hard up, as a society, for up-close-and-personal docs about famous musicians, but it’s still weird to see a film that puts us this close to a star like Lopez, whose fame was forged back when celebrities doled out intimate access far more sparingly and only the Kardashians fed their every waking moment to the content-maw. Love Story gives us a lot of J-Lo as hard-nosed auteur under deadline pressure, drinking from a bejewled water bottle while refusing to budge in budget meetings, dancing as hard and fast as she can, making every second count, answering questions like, “Can we show you some umbrella options?” even as her white SUV pulls away at the end of a long night shoot. But early in the film Lopez confesses what we’ve all known on some intuitive level forever, which is that “J-Lo” is a swaggering character created by Lopez who does not struggle the way the real Lopez struggles.

The film follows Lopez’s decision to self-finance This Is Me…Now to the tune of $20 million when a backer gets concerned about the project’s commercial potential and drops out, and this sets the tone for a movie about a very different Lopez, a vulnerable human being working on an extremely personal project that she worries out loud will, quote, “suck fucking dick.” We see her out of camera-ready makeup and we see her admit that “it’s not like anyone was clamoring for the next J-Lo record” and we see her tired and winded after filming intense dance sequences and we see her say things like “I forget how much older I am than everybody now…Everybody else is 22.”She is scared all the time, she says, but doesn’t let anyone see it: “That’s the secret,” she says, “to my whole fuckin’ career.”

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