Popcorn Picks Review: “Dancing with the Devil” shows the raw reality of addiction


Demi Lovato talks about her 2018 overdose, recovery, eating disorder and sexuality in this four-part docuseries.

Emma Rushworth, Opinion Editor

Demi Lovato’s overdose in 2018 shocked the world because she has been an advocate for sobriety and recovery for years. In the wake of her overdose, fans were left wondering about the status of Lovato’s health and if she was going to live. Three years later, Lovato has found her voice in a new docuseries called “Dancing with the Devil.”

The overdose actually happened in the middle of filming a different documentary about Lovato and her life on tour. The new docuseries showed clips of the old footage, which takes place when she was not what she portrayed herself to be to friends, family and fans.

Watching the old footage is heartbreaking because viewers can see just how bad things really were during filming.

The first episode of the docuseries focuses on the time before the overdose. The second episode focuses solely on the overdose itself, and the third and fourth episodes go into Lovato’s recovery and her current status. The pacing of the docuseries was done well enough to keep viewers interested and engaged.

Each episode begins and ends with trigger warnings for the topics discussed in that episode. There are also resources provided for anyone who may be experiencing addiction, eating disorders or mental illness. These warnings stand out as something great since Hollywood can be careless with trigger warnings on graphic content.

In the second episode, we were told everything about Lovato’s overdose, from the perspectives of assistants, family, friends and Lovato herself. Lovato revealed that she suffered from three strokes and a heart attack, and has since dealt with memory loss, brain damage and partial blindness. As a result of the overdose, she can no longer drive.

Part of Lovato’s recovery has included the controversial “California sober” approach. Essentially, Lovato never touches any hard drugs but uses cannabis and drinks alcohol in moderation. This approach has worried some fans as she followed a similar path before her overdose. Some addiction experts are against this method of recovery and advocate for a complete abstinence from substances. Lovato’s case manager for her recovery said in the docuseries that staunch abstinence never worked for Lovato and enticed her to do harder substances, resulting in her overdose.

There were several celebrity cameos in the final episode, which came as a surprise. However, the cameos were a refreshing change of pace from the same six people viewers were used to being interviewed. Christina Aguilera, Will Ferrell and Elton John all spoke on Lovato’s recovery and the person she has become. John was able to speak on addiction and recovery, despite strongly disagreeing with the “California approach.”

“If you drink, you’re going to drink more,” said John.

Lovato also touched on quarantine, the COVID-19 pandemic and her messy relationship with former fiancé Max Erich. Lovato explained in the docuseries that quarantine allowed her to explore herself spiritually and mentally, which allowed her to heal. Lovato also touched on her rushed engagement and explosive breakup.

“I think I rushed into something that I thought was what I was supposed to do,” said Lovato. “I realized as time went on that I didn’t actually know the person that I was engaged to.”

The next chapter of Lovato’s life has begun. Her new album, “Dancing with the Devil,” was released on April 2. She has also come out as part of the LGBTQ community and said she wants to explore that side of herself more. Fans are hopeful that the worst is behind Lovato.

Rating: 4 out of 5 kernels

Contact the writer: [email protected]
Twitter: @e_tww