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IMPRINT Review | The Boy from Medellín, J Balvin’s Way

Written By | Agustina Subira

Directed by Matthew Heineman , known for “Cartel Land” and “City of Ghosts”, this biopic approaches us to the Colombian reggaeton prince, J Balvin. The documentary was released last Friday, on the singer’s 36th birthday, and it outlines the social pressures imposed on the artist by his fans during his first stadium concert in Medellín in 2019, as well as the humble origins and the great effort Balvin has made to be where he is now. In other words, “The Boy from Medellín” is an inspiring movie about a real story of perseverance, of pursuing dreams, not giving up and dealing with fame.

The film starts with the performer’s first steps in the music industry; when he goes to Miami and tries to make his way into the entertainment world, but the battle with anxiety and depression becomes unviable so eventually he goes back to Colombia. In his hometown, he can be seen performing in every corner of the city with and for the people of Medellín, it’s then when he starts making himself a name within the reggaeton artists. But, “The Boy of Medellin” focuses on Balvin’s first stadium concert, in his hometown. In November, 2019 he performed on the Atanasio Girardot Stadium on Medellín, along with great artists such as Nicky Jam and Bad Bunny (among others), and at that moment the Latin American city was going through rough times, citizens were marching on the streets to make their political and social concerns be heard; the violent response of the police resulted in three civil deaths.

In this complex social context, “El Niño de Medellín”, as the singer is known, was asked to intervene and react about the latest events. In the film we can see his insecurities and the pressure he is under, whether is his place to say something or not, if it is what to say in such sensible matter, etc.

“La gente ve la gloria, pero no sabe la historia” (People see the glory, but they don’t know the story) is a phrase Balvin says that easily sticks in the mind of the audience. He feels judged and is demanded for an important and sensitive opinion that he is still making. The Boy of Medellín shows us that J Balvin is a vulnerable human being as any of us, with social and professional demands, but he is conscious of the communicational power he has and cares deeply for his hometown.

The production and the photography are excellent, and, unlike many documentaries, is a very dynamic tape which makes it easy to follow.

Is a movie worth watching: J Balvin’ s fans would get to know more about “José” and the ones who aren’t, the story behind an exceptional artist.