hours before the hbo documentary jagged Alanis Morissette, which was scheduled to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on Tuesday, criticized the film as “reductive” and “salicious” about her life.
Morissette took part in the film directed by Alison Kleiman, sitting down for a lengthy interview. But in a statement issued by her publicist, the Canadian musician said she would not support the film, which is named after her 1995 album, jagged Little Pill.
“I agreed to participate in an excerpt about the celebration of jagged Little Pill25th anniversary, and was interviewed during a very vulnerable time [while in the midst of my third postpartum depression during lockdown],” wrote Morissette. “I was implicated in a false sense of security and his forceful agenda became clear soon after watching the first cut of the film. It was then that I knew that our perspectives were really painfully torn apart. This was not the story I set out to tell. “
Morissette did not specify his issues with jagged, which premieres November 19 on HBO. But its most sensitive material involves Morissette discussing sexual encounters at the age of 15, which she calls statutory rape. The Washington Post had earlier reported on that part of the film.
“It took me years to accept that there was any kind of harassment on my part,” Morissette says in the film. “I would always say I was consenting, and then I would be reminded that ‘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.’ “
Canada’s age of consent has increased to 16 years since 2008. A person under the age of 18 cannot give consent if the sexual activity is with someone to whom they have a right. Youth as young as 14 or 15 may consent to non-exploitative sexual activity as long as the age difference does not exceed five years. Before 2008, the age of consent was 14. Morissette gives no details about who the encounter took place.
Representatives for Kelman did not immediately return requests for comment on Tuesday. In an interview with Deadline Hollywood published Tuesday, Kellman, whose films include Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry and steve bannon documentaries ledge, expressed regret that Morissette would not be there for the premiere.
“It’s a really tough thing, I think, to watch a movie about myself,” Kellman said. “I think she’s incredibly brave and the reaction when she saw it was that it really was — she could feel all the work, all the nuances. And then, she put so much time and so much effort into making it.” Diya and I think the film really speaks for itself.”
Morissette is currently on tour and is scheduled to perform in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Wednesday.
“I have decided not to attend any events around this film for two reasons: one is that I am on tour right now. The other is that, not unlike the many ‘stories’ and unofficial biographies over the years, It contains implications and facts that are not true,” said Morissette. “While there are some elements of beauty and accuracy to this/my story, to be sure—I ultimately end up with someone else’s reductive take on someone else’s story. which is too subtle for them to ever understand or tell.”
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