‘Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour’ Review: A Joyful Celebration That Encourages Audiences To Revel In The Spectacle

In her Miss Americana documentary, Taylor Swift talks extensively about how she spent much of her career hyperfocused on external validation. At times, her need to please others — her family and friends, the music industry, and even complete strangers — came at the detriment of her own well-being.

That doesn’t appear to be the case anymore.

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Just like the live concert (and possibly even more so), Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour is a complete celebration of her impressive 17-year career that puts Swift’s joy on full display and highlights that, perhaps for the first time, she is taking the stage for no one but herself.

And, of course, her fans — who she called a “main character” in the concert film while introducing it to audiences at The Grove in Los Angeles on Wednesday evening. She wasn’t lying.

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Even if you have been treated to the live show, The Eras Tour still gives everyone in the audience a chance to experience every song from the best seat in the house. You’ll get up close and personal with Swift and also see sweeping shots that put the stage’s stunning visuals on full display.

The Reputation era might be the best example of how much is missed during the live show, no matter your seat in the stadium. It’s hard to choose whether it might be better to see Swift’s electric performance up close or take in the astounding lighting, stage visuals and background imagery.

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Good thing that, in the film, viewers don’t have to make that choice. There are so many moments audiences will be grateful to take in the spectacle that is The Eras Tour from all angles. You’ll see every detail on every bejeweled outfit Swift wears throughout the show, as well as the tiny details on her instruments — like the sparkling 13 on the already bedazzled guitar she plays during the Fearless era.

As promised, the film puts Swifties front and center plenty of times as well. Filmed over three of her six nights at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour radiates the same energy that reverberated through the stands each night, complete with the deafening sound of the crowd. Expect to leave the theater with your ears ringing.

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For viewers who weren’t able to secure tickets to the North American leg of The Eras Tour, the concert film will come as a close second.

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The film begins just as the concert does, with a countdown clock that transitions into a dreamy opener paying homage to each era. As the camera swoops down into SoFi, the dancers take the stage with their billowing tapestries that coalesce over a hole in the stage before popping open to reveal Swift at the center.

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From there, Swift takes audiences on a journey through 10 different eras of her music career from Speak Now to Midnights. 

Songs like “Cruel Summer” and “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” hit almost as hard as they do in real life, aided by the fact that the fans didn’t hold back from singing along inside the theater. At times, the energy on screen felt quite infectious, prompting fans to stand up and dance to songs like “Love Story” and “Karma.”

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Admittedly, audiences will not see the exact show that Swift performed every night, as several of the usual 44 songs have been cut. It’s sure to come as a disappointment to many, as it did for me, that about one or two songs from each era were sacrificed, likely for the sake of time.

Even with those cuts, the film still clocks in at a hefty 2 hours and 48 minutes, about half an hour shorter than the live show. The decision is understandable, given the constraints of theatrical releases, but some of the choices felt a bit odd.

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It makes sense Swift might cut “The Archer” from the Lover era, since it’s one of the less invigorating songs of that set. But why leave out “Long Live,” which was added to the set list after the release of Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)? The studio version appears in the end credits of the film, but it doesn’t quite replace the moment that Swift performs it live.

I also questioned why “no body, no crime” didn’t introduce the evermore era, since Haim’s guest performance at the Los Angeles shows was a real treat.

RELATED: Taylor Swift Makes History As First Woman With Four Albums In Top 10 At The Same Time As ‘Speak Now’ Debuts At No. 1

Swift is a self-proclaimed mastermind, though, so it’s always possible that she has some tricks up her sleeve to release a lengthier version when the film inevitably hits a streaming service.

The acoustic set featured “Our Song” and “You’re On Your Own, Kid,” which Swift performed as the surprise songs during Night 2 of her six-night L.A. stop. It seemed fitting that the film would immortalize her performing a song from her very first album alongside one from her most recent.

RELATED: Taylor Swift Is First Woman To Hit Remarkable Spotify Milestone

After last year’s Ticketmaster snafu made it clear that many fans would not be able to secure tickets to one of Swift’s shows, the singer promised that she would work to bring the tour to as many people as humanly possible. Overall, that’s exactly what she’s accomplished with Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour.

The only other thing the film might have benefitted from was some behind-the-scenes footage. This is a true concert film, from start to finish. Where was our glimpse at Swift climbing into the cleaning cart to be rolled backstage before the show?

Title: Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour
Distributor: AMC Theaters
Release date: October 12, 2023
Director: Sam Wrench
Cast: Taylor Swift
Rating: PG-13
Running time: 2 hr 48 min

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