‘…I never talk about this sh-t’: Alanis Morrisette makes heartbreaking revelation in TIFF documentary ‘Jagged'

·4-min read
Alanis Morissette (Courtesy of TIFF)

One of the most highly anticipated documentaries at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Jagged, from filmmaker Alison Klayman, reveals emotional and shocking details about Alanis Morissette's life, but the Canadian music legend is not a supporter.

Shortly before the film's premiere on Tuesday night, a statement from Morissette started to be circulated, criticizing the documentary that she states she was a part of during a "very vulnerable time" and was "lulled into a false sense of security."

"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)," the statement from Morissette reads

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.Alanis Morissette

The statement goes on to address that there is "beauty and some elements of accuracy" but Morissette maintained that she "won't be supporting someone else's reductive take on a story much too nuanced for them to ever grasp or tell."

A mural of Alanis Morissette by the Irish artist Emmalene Blake, located in South Dublin. 
This is the latest work, a part of the 'Stay At Home' serie, encouraging people to stick to social distancing. 
On Monday, November 16, 2020, in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
A mural of Alanis Morissette by the Irish artist Emmalene Blake, located in South Dublin. This is the latest work, a part of the 'Stay At Home' serie, encouraging people to stick to social distancing. On Monday, November 16, 2020, in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

What information about Alanis Morissette is revealed in 'Jagged'?

Jagged, in reference to the album "Jagged Little Pill," takes the audience through Morissette's journey from child to teen to adult, navigating the explosion of her celebrity, which also showcases interviews with key people in her career, including her former bandmate and Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins.

In the earlier portion of the documentary, the music artist speaks about being in Paris, filming music videos, being hit on by guys who are too old for her, raising the question - "Where is my protection?" - a theme that is called back to throughout the documentary.

As she got a bit older around 15, 16-years-old, Morissette remembers there being concerns about how she had been "gaining weight," with people dictating what she could eat, including counting how many "Velveeta cheese slices" she ate during late nights in the recording studio and not allowing her to put milk in her coffee.

Looking back on those years, in the most heartbreaking moment of the documentary, Morissette alleges that she was raped at the age of 15.

"I'm going to need some help because I never talk about this sh-t," she says in the film.

"There was a lot of shame around having any kind of victimization of any kind... You're not consenting at 15. Now I'm like, oh yeah, they're all pedophiles. It's all statutory rape."

Morissette adds that she did tell people about it but it "fell on deaf ears."

"It would usually be a stand up, walk out of the room moment," she says.

Wrapped up in these revelations, Jagged documents how important the artist has been in popular culture, particularly for empowering women though her music, but also her success in the music industry paving the way for women who hope to be future music artists.

"I can't write these songs without absolutely having been disempowered," Morissette cautions in her interview at the outset of the film.

WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE WITH ANDY COHEN @ HOME -- Episode 17131 -- Pictured in this screen grab: Alanis Morissette -- (Photo by: Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE WITH ANDY COHEN @ HOME -- Episode 17131 -- Pictured in this screen grab: Alanis Morissette -- (Photo by: Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

While we don't know if there is something specific the artist doesn't support in this documentary, or whether it's the more general themes and her overall portrayal in the film, at a TIFF Q&A period Klayman explained that Morissette was "in conversations" to be part of this project with HBO before the director was contacted to possibly sign on.

In a pre-taped intro to Jagged to introduce the movie at the Toronto festival, Klayman talks about how "Jagged Little Pill" was the first CD she ever bought, communicating how much of a fan she is of the music artist, also admitted she didn't know much about her personal life.

"I went out and spent time with her, just one-on-one, and we like never left the house," Klayman said at the Q&A, referencing the filmmaking process during the pandemic. "We spent a couple weeks together and I kind of got a rhythm for her life with her family and just to have a lot of conversations,...all culminating in our master interview for the film."

"I couldn't be more thrilled with how it turned out."

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