Alanis Morissette Not Happy With New Documentary: “This Was Not The Story I Agreed To Tell”
Alanis Morissette is not happy with Jagged, a new documentary about her career that’s premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival today ahead of a debut on HBO later this year. In a statement to Pitchfork, the Canadian musician expressed her disapproval:
I agreed to participate in a piece about the celebration of Jagged Little Pill’s 25th anniversary, and was interviewed during a very vulnerable time (while in the midst of my third postpartum depression during lockdown). I was lulled into a false sense of security and their salacious agenda became apparent immediately upon my seeing the first cut of the film. This is when I knew our visions were in fact painfully diverged. This was not the story I agreed to tell. I sit here now experiencing the full impact of having trusted someone who did not warrant being trusted. I have chosen not to attend any event around this movie for two reasons: one is that I am on tour right now. The other is that, not unlike many “stories” and unauthorized biographies out there over the years, this one includes implications and facts that are simply not true. While there is beauty and some elements of accuracy in this/my story to be sure—I ultimately won’t be supporting someone else’s reductive take on a story much too nuanced for them to ever grasp or tell.
What Morissette seems to be referring to is the way the documentary treats the topic of sexual abuse. A Washington Post article from last week — which first noted that Morissette will not attend the film’s TIFF premiere — describes a scene in the film in which Morissette talks about the abuse she experienced when she was starting out in the music industry.
“I’m going to need some help because I never talk about this,” Morissette said in the documentary, going on to say: “It took me years in therapy to even admit there had been any kind of victimization on my part. I would always say I was consenting, and then I’d be reminded like ‘Hey, you were 15, you’re not consenting at 15.’ Now I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, they’re all pedophiles. It’s all statutory rape.”She does not name any specific abusers, but Morissette does note that she “did tell a few people and it kind of fell on deaf ears.”
Jagged was directed by Alison Klayman. When asked about Morissette’s reluctance to promote the film, Klayman recently told Deadline: “It’s a really hard thing, I think, to see a movie made about yourself. I think she’s incredibly brave and the reaction when she saw it was that it was a really–she could feel all the work, all the nuance that went into it. And again, she gave so much of her time and so much of her effort into making this and I think that the movie really speaks for itself.”
Jagged is set to debut on HBO later this year. It’s part of Bill Simmons’ Music Box documentary series for HBO, which has also included the Woodstock Peace, Love, And Rage and an upcoming one about Kenny G, which also premiered at TIFF.