Last night Richard and I went to see “This Is It” at Rod Stewart’s home. It is an absolutely wonderful documentary all about the final show Michael had been rehearsing before he died. I hadn’t realized how far along they were with it, how polished and exciting it would be even though they were just rehearsing. All the sets, the amazing pyrotechnical effects, the choreography was in place. There were interviews with some of the dancers…young men and women who had traveled, in some cases, from other counties to try out because Michael had been their inspiration from early in their childhoods. One cried when he tried to describe how he felt. It was clear that the chance of performing with their hero was beyond their wildest dreams. There’s a wonderful scene when all the dancers who hope to be selected are on stage dancing at the same time.

Except for a very few brief moments when he walked rather than danced, there was no hint that Michael was tired or ill. His voice was as strong as could be, his face more beautiful than I’d seen since he did the Thriller video. And his dance moves were all that we have come to expect from the King of Pop.

What I really enjoyed was seeing him stop in the middle of some of the numbers and ask the musicians to do a particular moment a little differently. Clearly he liked well-placed pauses when all music would stop to allow the moment to “simmer.” Several times he’d say in his sweet, high voice, “You gotta let it simmer” or maybe the word was sizzle. And then, “Don’t play until you see me make this move” which would be, in some instances, lifting one shoulder as punctuation or flinging arm out, finger pointing.
Almost every time he’s stop and ask for something different he’d finish by saying “It’s about love,” or “God bless you.”

There was another wonderful scene when he was talking to a pianist, trying to explain the sound he was looking for…Getting the musician to do it over and over with subtle changes… So able to hone in on the smallest details of sound and movement. Afterward, the pianist spoke movingly about how no one knew the music and what it should sound like better than Michael. Clearly everyone working on the project was in awe of Michael. And in this film you can really see why.

When Michael was on stage dancing alone, the camera would pan out to the “audience” of dancers all of whom would be grooving right along with Michael, looking up at him on the stage, loving him, admiring him, rooting for him. I am moved as I write this because it hadn’t hit me till I saw the film how utterly devastating his death must have been to all these dancers and musicians who so adored him, who had worked so long and hard and who were on the very brink of taking it public.

The night the film had its premiere in downtown Los Angeles there was an unusual, high wind…so strong that trees were blown down. Unusual for this city. A friend of mine who was there said that she wasn’t the only one who was crying as she walked toward the theatre, feeling this wind was Michael’s presence.

See the movie.
See you next time,

Share This Post
  1. More like “That Was It” me think.

    Abilities–No man’s abilities are so remarkably shining, as not to stand in need of a proper opportunity, a patron, and even the praises of a friend, to recommend them to the notice of the world.
    –Pliny. I wonder if Michael had real friends, Art is a full time friend , I sure is family and friends could have helped him and I am sure they tried , what can be said This is It or That was how it was. Our actions are our own; their consequences belong to Heaven. We are lucky too have the images and music to call on , Michael was a Artist at being himself.

  2. Wow, you repeated my sentiments word for word about the movie. I never imagined how many people were working for him at the time of his death. The creativity and dollars that went into sets and costumes, musicians and dancers..what a production. So sad it ended the way it did.

  3. it’ was huge! this is it was tremendous! Michaêl Jackson was unique as ever,i liked the part of your text with the feeling of the wind as Micharl presence, poetical touch! like himself ,his incredible talent will go on, singing and dancing forever in our soul.artists never dye! Frederique Dhenein

  4. thanks for the review
    loved mj,the film showed what a talented man mj was and how much love he had.

  5. I like this review. Thanks For sharing

  6. Michael Jackson is GREAT! He’s amazing! My favorite MJ song is HUMAN NATURE. I don’t know why but it has great lyrics. Planning to see the movie next week. Regards from Croatia

  7. Jane,
    You could not of described this movie any better. As you know there have been plenty of people condemming him for what they feel he did to children. I don’t believe he ever hurt or sexually abused any child. Yes, he was “different” and most of the time his own worst enemy as far as rumors were concerned.
    I walked out of the movie thinking I wish someone could of broke through all of the walls he built up and helped him with his addictions. Because he was exceptionally talented the likes that we will not see again.
    I hope he has found the peace that he did not have in this world


  8. I saw the movie today, and as i live in London, had tickets to see him. The show would have been unbelievable, i’m fortunate enough to have seen him live three times before, but knowing how he liked to better his last show i knew it would be spectacular.

    His vocals were strong and he sang live, he moved well keeping up with dancers half his age even when a lot of moves were just blocking.

    In comparison I saw Madonna ‘live’ last year, i paid £200 and she mimed through the entire show. Two hours of my life i am never getting back. MJ would never had done that.

    I’m not too sure though Michael would want the world to see the show in it’s unfinished state, being the perfectionist he was.

  9. I have plans to see it Friday. I’m glad to hear it’s worth seeing. My mother, who is a HUGE MJ fan always had his music playing while I was growing up. When he died, it felt like a member of my family passed away. This movie, i’m sure will be hard for my mom and I to watch. He was such a TALENTED, TALENTED man and I don’t think he got enough credit. A distant cousin of mine was a dancer in the Thriller video. She’s lucky to have to have had the opportunity to dance with the great Michael Jackson. All his dancers must really be lost with out him. What a sad, sad thing! His music will live on FOREVER! No one will ever be like MJ 🙂

  10. Dear Jane, You said it very beautifully. I saw the movie the day before you did. I had read no reviews and had no idea what it would be. I found it to be the most exhilarating, excellent, transcendent performance documentary I’ve ever seen. It’s hard to understand that Michael could rehearse and perform at such intensity and then die the next day.

    I think of him as a genius of movement. His dancing was, still, remarkable and inspiring. The music moved me too, and as a classical pianist, I can appreciate the importance of detail and minutiae in preparing a performance. Those musicians and dancers, directors and crew who worked with him were all reaching for excellence at every moment. Amazing, wasn’t it?

    Thanks for listening! Sabrina

  11. That was an excellent review Jane. Thanks for writing it. I wasn’t sure about going to see this documentary but now I know I will.

  12. Hi Jane,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I enjoyed the movie very much too. It was comforting to see Michael behind the scenes. I was expecting the worst and was so relieved to see him looking so fit, focused and interactive.

    I reviewed the film for my blog.

    Michael was magical. His talent didn’t fail him even in the end.


  13. I make a food dish called Moonscape Brownies that involves marshmallows rising to the top during baking and popping. Not your usual brownie surface, the resulting uneven indentations remind me of the moon’s craters. I make them in honor of Michael and his Moonwalk dance. I adored him as the scarecrow in “The Wiz, and thought that was some of his best work. Loved that scene with the principals dancing on a long tabletop. It was so energetic-it was inspirational. He inspired us. He was an original. He was American. He will always be with us.

  14. love you Jane….always such a kind and lovely person. Great review.

  15. I have always been a fan of Michael Jackson. I went to see him preform in Philly with his brothers,it was there last concert together. It was a great concert. I was so sick,but I was not going to miss that concert. I’m so glad that I went because I never had the chance to see him preform again. I was wondering how the movie would be.

  16. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about seeing Michael Jackson’s movie. I’m sure it’s been a very difficult time for the dancers and other people who participated in the movie with him. Michael touched so many people with his music. He was gifted in so many ways. It’s nice to know that he had this one last wonderful gift to give to his fans, and his children, and family.

  17. Perfectly put.
    A rare chance to see a brilliant artist behind-the-scenes.
    How sad that the show was never performed in London!

  18. It amazes me how fragile life is. I haven’t seen the movie, but just from seeing the previews anyone can tell that he was healthy. Life is too precious, and too short. It makes me appreciate each moment I get to spend with my children. Michael Jackson’s time was cut short. I always think of the children.


    My God Given Mission Field

  19. I’ve seen the movie also and it was brilliant. All the little scenes between the dancing and the singing where MJ is talking to his crew, sharing opinions and joking around are priceless… We’re lucky to have this footage of his last days; talent never dies.

  20. Thank you for the great review, Jane – I was not even thinking about going to see the movie until I read your review. I went to see it last night and my husband reluctantly came along. We were blown away by it and he thanked me all the way home for “dragging” him to see it. It was everything you said and even more. It’s still so sad every time you hear one of his songs on the radio or TV or see a video clip. He should not have died and should have lived to be a grandfather – he would have had so much fun with his grandkids!!

  21. Hi Jane,

    I have a foodie blog and I felt compelled to do a whole post about the movie and my impressions. I must say I enjoyed reading yours.

    I too, felt so much for all the people working with Michael.

    Because of the media I had this ‘image’ in my head of a flakey, tired Michael who was organising some concerts as a way of bowing out of performing ever again. I thought he wasn’t prepared, wasn’t fit enough.. just horrible, judgemental assumptions based on what I was hearing on my TV.

    When I saw the movie, like you I had no idea that the rehearsals were that far along..and that each song was a production unto itself.. and Michael was so involved with every aspect of each production.

    I wouldn’t have even called myself a MJ fan before but I’m so glad I went to see the film.


  22. michael will rise again through someone else…if not many.

  23. Now I feel like I have to see this after getting a recommendation like this!

  24. MJ was more than just a man/boy living in America–he was a national treasure, who, with this last concert–was spreading the word of peace, sustainable environment and love.

    I truly did not realize how incredibly gifted he was until I saw “This is it”. He oversaw each aspect of the production: Dancers, musicians, singers, costumes, video–the consumate artist.

    Some point to his weakness in the movie–while those of us who have performed, know that the proposed show and his extensive involvement required the strenght and concentration of a superman: He was nothing less than incredible.

    This was his and our last chance to address the ills of the world, if we are to go forward. The people who produced the film were obviously inspired by MJ’s love and extreme artistry

    I believe that it was decided MJ’s light and message would not go forward. But the film multiplies it a 1000 times over–it is now up to us spread the word.

    Peace/Love, Gary Schofield

  25. Dear Jane,

    I do believe he said “simmer”, Michael was indeed a master in stop & starts, his silent and motionless pauses are ever so powerful and his perfectionism beyond belief.

    As you know it’s all about tension and release within a performance, it’s works wonders when applied at the right time… I was watching you last night again in The Golden Pond, you do it so impeccably…. Michael must have noticed this in your movies since early days! 😉

    My Warmest Regards



  26. Jane, thank you so much for sharing this wonderful review!

  27. Thankyou sooo Much for this review Jane. I’m only 21 years old and wasnt here when THRILLER was out, but I’ve loved this man since i saw him on TV when i was only 5 years old. I watched THIS IS IT 5 times last year. I felt the same way when I watched it all 5 times. He made me cry, laugh, mesmerized me, blew my mind. Thankyou for being his friend Jane. You are one of the best human beings I know.!


  28. Michael was a pure person as you can see in the movie, sadly some evil people took advantage of his kindness. It’s been more than six-months, but I still feel extremely sad especially for his children.

  29. He looked good and happy in This Is It.

    So Jane, do you also think that MJ was killed by the Illuminati? The doctor gave him propofol/sleeping pills in the morning(?), he was going to rehearse in a few hours.

    It is no secret that Michael was against the Freemasons (just listen to HIStory and see The Blood On The Dancefloor albumcover), they were afraid of his influence. They didn’t want him to make a comeback.

  30. Jane,

    I’d like to thank you for being a loving and inspirational person in Michael’s life.

    Another wave of books about Michael is rolling toward us, filled with Lord knows what new baseless rumors. Amidst such chaos, it’s impossible to get a genuine sense of Michael the man. The only way to bring light to what kind of person he really was is for those who truly knew him will speak up more, to dispel some of the misty mystery. It would be so helpful if more would do as you’ve begun to do, to go beyond the saccharine platitudes.

    I can think of no one who has been as open, forthcoming and insightful as you about Michael… could you expand the dialogue with further posts?

    I know you and all who loved him circled the wagons to protect him, for which we’re grateful. But it seems fitting now to open up, to enrich his legacy with personal insights about this extraordinary life, so beloved by millions.

    We’re learning much from his professional colleagues about his extraordinary artistry. So many talk of the joy of working with him.

    Yet this leaves so much in a fog. Many of us dre intensely desirous of knowing how Michael loved romantically, whom he loved, and was he happy in love at the end. Perhaps you were able to check in with him over the years and he would share such things with you. Perhaps you truly did show him the ropes. 🙂

    Would you talk to us more about Michael? With thanks,


  31. Oh God: that last line !

  32. “The night the film had its premiere in downtown Los Angeles there was an unusual, high wind…so strong that trees were blown down. Unusual for this city. A friend of mine who was there said that she wasn’t the only one who was crying as she walked toward the theatre, feeling this wind was Michael’s presence.” Lest you have forgotten Mr Jackson capacity to stand firmly in a storm, please check out his “Panther Dance” in “Black & White.

    The excruciating pressure Mr. Jackson was balancing essentially on his own during his last days and its tragedy; it’s heartbreaking. Since his passing into the Light we’ve been told of others in entertainment biz who’ve been surrounded by zealous controllers, abusers, sycophants, enablers benefit’g their interests; luring artists to over-indulge w/ meds. The ability to create and rise to a higher consciousness in our humanity is totally truncated in this environment. MJ was about Art, music, creation to nurture, to bring beauty, to care, to love. Combined, this should foremost be the message. The consumption of the artist is the shame of the entertainment biz; its practice transcends generations.

    I watched 5 screenings of This is It during its run,including the midnight debut Oct. 2009. The most memorable being the one in which I was the only patron in a 500 seat theatre. My take away from this 1:1 screening was ‘Be yourself”. Michael was himself on the stage. Since June 25, 2009 there has not been one day that I have lived without him in my thoughts. He’s given me strength. He wanted to be remembered as being much more than a superb performance artist, entertainer or a musician; he was a humanitarian, a dearly loved Dad.

    In your upcoming theatrical/ cinematic endeavors, may there be a screenplay in which you can be reunited in performance with Vanessa Redgrave and the two of you may give expression to the phrase: “Be yourself”.

Leave a Reply