• Network: HBO
  • Series Premiere Date: Feb 16, 2013
  • Season #: 1

Mixed or average reviews - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 14
  2. Negative: 2 out of 14
  1. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Feb 14, 2013
    Life Is But a Dream simply plays like a video diary, a less-salacious version of the brand of self-confessional "celeb-reality" shows overpopulating cable TV, albeit with lower-octane stars.
  2. Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    Feb 15, 2013
    It’s an oddly unnecessary piece of work, a vanity production from top to bottom with very little that feels genuinely candid.
  3. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Feb 8, 2013
    A gauzy, pretty documentary. [18 Feb 2013, p.43]
  4. Reviewed by: Linda Stasi
    Feb 15, 2013
    Life Is But A Dream is a vanity project that could have been a helluva film--if she had given up control and let the story tell itself.
  5. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Feb 13, 2013
    Life Is But A Dream in reality doesn't give all that much. Still, it's a watchable film for those who just can't get enough of a pop music jewel to behold who's still just 31 and likely not even in her prime yet.
  6. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Feb 13, 2013
    Life Is But a Dream, co-directed by Ed Burke and billed by HBO as "an intimate, revealing documentary," isn't really, but there are enough moments that pass for authenticity to make it a benignly informative glimpse into a rarefied existence.
  7. Reviewed by: Ken Tucker
    Feb 8, 2013
    What gives this film grit are the visual displays of her work ethic and her fierce determination to "bring R&B music back" to the center of current pop music, to "forget being cool" and reveal naked passion. [15 Feb 2013, p.60]
  8. Reviewed by: Alessandra Stanley
    Feb 14, 2013
    Beyoncé: Life Is but a Dream is as contrived as “Madonna: Truth or Dare,” but probably for good reason it is neither daring nor entirely truthful.
  9. Reviewed by: Joanne Ostrow
    Feb 14, 2013
    The yin and yang of stardom are on display here: The footage from her in concert is breathtaking. The cliches from her interviews are cringe-inducing.
  10. Reviewed by: Curt Wagner
    Feb 14, 2013
    The HBO special comes off more as another managed attempt to forge the legend of Queen B.
  11. Reviewed by: Willa Paskin
    Feb 13, 2013
    The best parts of Life Is But a Dream are not the confessionals, but watching Beyoncé become Beyoncé. It’s a transformation we see only bits of.... But mostly, there’s no sweat. We hear about her angst, and then we see the finished product.
  12. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Feb 8, 2013
    Rather than a self-portrait, this is a scrupulously processed diptych.
  13. Reviewed by: Gerrick D. Kennedy
    Feb 15, 2013
    Ultimately, Life Is but a Dream remains a victory for her fans. Casual viewers will most likely glean the same sense of the superstar's life as one might from a magazine feature. But for serious fans of the fiercely private superstar, this remains a window into her life.
  14. Reviewed by: Glenn Gamboa
    Feb 14, 2013
    Sure, it's a glossy, well-produced infomercial filled with powerful live performances, but it feels designed to make us want to buy more Beyoncé stuff.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 42 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 3 out of 10
  1. Feb 17, 2013
    This was nothing but a full-on Beyonce infomercial. It really didn't reveal anything about her that we didn't already know. The best part of this "documentary" was the last 5 minutes or so. That's it. It's the same song and dance of many other celebrity docs--"Woe is me. Why was I given this life? My life is not perfect. Even though I'm a celebrity I have feelings like everyone else." Blah blah blah. This was nothing but smoke and mirrors, giving us nothing but the Beyonce that she wants the public to see, not what's actually there. I'm waiting to see a deeper Beyonce. But it does bring up the question: Is there a "deep" Beyonce? Probably not. If we scratch beneath that surface, there's probably nothing but more surface. Sad, really. Full Review »
  2. Feb 20, 2013
    this is utter trash, the message stop turning young girsl into money grubbing whores,beyonce is garbage, who's real motives are pay my bills, and ppl watch this trash, her husband is a gangsta rapper, so lets have a kid, i mean don't you ppl get it you've been lied 2, these ppl are just rich spoiled ppl, and please beyonce put some clothes on i don't wanna look at your nasty jiggly loose body, please wear clothes, yuck Full Review »
  3. Feb 17, 2013
    Never saw a doc that made me laugh and cry so much. Enjoyed it immensely and I highly recommend people to watch it even if they're not Beyoncé fans. A must see! Full Review »