- Network: Lifetime
- Series Premiere Date: Jan 3, 2019
- Critic score
- By date
As a programme, Surviving R Kelly is deeply flawed. At best, it treads a fine line between attesting to the apparent pain of those taking part and exploiting it – and often gives in to temptation.
The women’s testimonies are indeed moving and necessary, and we should honor their perspectives. But watching those testimonies, I often felt like I was stepping into a private moment, as the women pore over the details of what they experienced, the majority of whom were very young teenagers at the time of their abuse. Aesthetically, the documentary trades in the coarse rhythms of a tabloid.
Awards & Rankings
Generally favorable reviews- based on 23 Ratings
User score distribution:
Positive: 16 out of 23
Mixed: 2 out of 23
Negative: 5 out of 23
Jan 11, 2019First and foremost: this is not a well-done documentary! This six part-series does not offer many revelations. People who observed the issuesFirst and foremost: this is not a well-done documentary! This six part-series does not offer many revelations. People who observed the issues of R Kelly carefully, would already know most of the facts presented here. In essence: the guy has serious issues with his sexuality and personality & he likes to manipulate way too young girls into becoming his sex slaves. Let's not forget that this is the same guy who urinated on a 14 year old girl on video and despite it made a big comeback in the music business, after he paid off his victim to remain silent.
The series is a compilation of the various allegations levelled against Kelly and features many of the affected women, who are presented to the viewer in an overly dramatic way as "survivors", as if they were just freed from some Nazi death camp. While the whole narrative could be told in two hours, the makers decided to overstretch it into six one-hour parts. Hence, a lot of the footage is used repetitively. Constantly, the narrative is accentuated by overly dramatic background music and close ups of the victims faces, especially when they show emotional reactions. It doesn't help that they wear too much makeup, so that their faces look plasticly, motionless and mask-like. To be fair: many of his victims were under the age of consent and mentally immature, when Kelly manipulated them into becoming his mistresses. Most of them were basically naive, impressionable and overly enthusiastic teenage groupies of Kelly, who ended up being invited to the backstage by their idol, from where it often spiralled down into abusive relationships.
Maybe such a documentary is needed, in order to get a comprehensive picture of Kelly's transgressions, even though the information has been out in the public. At best, this documentary can spark a discussion about the powers we grant to famous and wealthy persons, whom we choose to put on our pedestrals. Surely, it doesn't help that R Kelly is functionally illiterate, so that he depends on his staff of yes-sayers, if he wants to know how he is publicly perceived. R Kelly is not the only influential person who was able to violate his victims due to his status. R Kelly's malignant traits were fuelled by the masses of people who praised and admired him irrespectively of his behavior and who refused to hold him accountable. America is literally an idol worshipping society and R Kelly has functioned as one of these idols.… Full Review »
Jan 10, 2019- great stories from various woman and opinions of what was going on
- felt honest and real
- touching sad moments - makes you mad, sad and- great stories from various woman and opinions of what was going on
- felt honest and real
- touching sad moments
- makes you mad, sad and ready to take on r. kelly… Full Review »
May 31, 2019A Look Into A Shocking Truth
Surviving R Kelly reveals the shocking disturbing allegations against rapper R. Jelly in an emotionally powerful way.