The Idol (2023) Movie Review

The Idol (2023) is a TV Series from HBO directed by director Sam Levinson with Abel Tesfaye “The Weekend” and Reza Fahim. Screening the first two episodes at the 76th Cannes Film Festival, sharp criticism kept coming. Critics said the series was too frivolous and sensual. In fact, Rolling Stone published two articles criticizing the production of The Idol (2023) series,

Idol (2023) itself tells the story of the life of a pop singer named Jocelyn. Experiencing many difficulties, Jocelyn develops an affair with Tedros, the leader of a mysterious cult.

The character Jocelyn is played by Lily Rose Depp, while Tedros is played by Abel Tesfaye. Not to forget, K-Pop star Jennie Blackpink was also present as one of the supporting actors along with another top singer, namely Troye Sivan.

So, how controversial is the series The Idol (2023)? For those who are curious about the storyline and reviews, you can find it only at Salenhanh.


Sinopsis The Idol (2023)

Release Year2023
DirectorSam Levinson
Lily Rose Depp

Abel Tesfaye
Review Baca di sini
On her way to reviving her career and image as America’s sexiest pop singer, Jocelyn meets Tedros. This man made Jocelyn feel a new life. But behind his touch, Tedros has a secret about himself and the sect he leads.

Episode 1

Jocelyn (Lily Rose Depp) is an American pop singer who is trying to restore her former glory. Experiencing many problems, Jocelyn had a mental breakdown, especially when her mother died and her concert tour was simply cancelled.

Wants to restore his image as the sexiest pop singer in America. Nikki Katz (Jane Adams) deliberately made the issue of Jocelyn’s mental illness the main highlight on this album. For him, mental illness is sexy, especially since Jocelyn managed to execute this theme very well.

During a photo shoot for her new album, Jocelyn had a problem with the “nude” rule that had been agreed upon. Jocelyn refused to follow existing rules by saying “this is my body.”

This was also approved by Xander (Troye Sivan), the creative director . He thought the photo shoot was very beautiful and Jocelyn didn’t feel forced, so they didn’t need to worry about this rule anymore.

On the other hand, Chaim (Hank Azaria), Jocelyn’s co-manager, received new news about his artist. 11 minutes ago, someone posted a photo of Jocelyn’s face covered in sperm. This made the entire management team panic.

They asked Leia (Rachel Sennott), Jocelyn’s friend and assistant. But as usual, Leia always said she didn’t know and protected Jocelyn.

This news finally reached Xander and Nikki’s ears, they were afraid that this news would make Jocelyn’s mental condition worse. Finally they agreed to keep all this a secret from Jocelyn for a while.

Today Jocelyn will show a demo of the song and choreography for her newest song. No joke, Jocelyn appeared in front of a reporter from Vanity Fair. Then there’s Andrew Finkelstein of Live Nation, the responsible shareholder who funds Jocelyn’s career.

Jocelyn’s first attempt could be said to be less successful. For some reason, Jocelyn felt uncomfortable throughout practice. This girl is nervous because important people are watching her performance, she is also jealous of one of her dancers Dyanne (Jenni Ruby Jane).

Trying to focus and forget all her burdens, Jocelyn managed to perform a perfect dance and amaze many people.

But her happiness didn’t last long, Jocelyn finally knew why her whole team looked upset all day. He was annoyed and angry when he found out that his stupid photo had been widely spread on social media.

Wanting to let go of all her burdens, Jocelyn finally accepted Dyanne’s offer to go to a new club. That evening Jocelynn spent her time having fun.

Without realizing it, a man kept staring at Jocelyn from afar, that man was Tedros (Abel Tesfaye). The owner of this club said that he fell in love with Jocelyn, he was a big fan.

The two danced and chatted briefly, but Jocelyn was stunned by Tedros’ charm. In fact, they almost spent the night together if Leia hadn’t interfered at a crucial moment.

Jocelyn fell in love with Tedros, from the way he praised and adored him, the man made her heart feel warm.

Especially when Jocelyn shared her worries about her newest song which will be released soon. He didn’t believe the people around him, even when they said that the song was very good. But Tedros always has his own way of making Jocelyn more confident.

The closeness of Jocelyn and Tedros made Leia very uncomfortable, she felt there was something strange about Tedros’ figure. The man was very mysterious and difficult to predict.

But that night Jocelyn invited Tedros to her house, she wanted to show him her latest song. As usual, Tedros can always make Jocelyn fall in love.

The way he praised and touched her, Jocelyn was truly in love. Not only that, Jocelyn invited Tedros to show her how to make love and Jocelyn had never felt this experience before.

Episode 2

That day everyone who was influential in Jocelyn’s career was called to her house, Xander, Nikki, Leia and even Chaim were all present. It turned out that Jocelyn wanted to perform a remix of the song “World Class Sinner” which she created with Tedros.

As usual, Nikki always appears as someone who never sympathizes and believes in Jocelyn’s tastes. Even after listening to the remix , Nikki became the person who most strongly opposed Jocelyn releasing the song.

Nikki didn’t want to waste the millions of dollars they had already spent. Not to mention the other problems that Jocelyn did in the past, all of this cost millions of dollars that have not been replaced yet. Nikki said, “World Class Sinner” will still be released next week and use the version they have approved.

Obviously this hurt Jocelyn, especially as Nikki brought up the dark times when Jocelyn lost her mother. Luckily Chaim came and gave Jocelyn a little confidence.

Jocelyn’s days felt stiff, especially since she couldn’t meet Tedros for the next few days. Like a doll, Jocelyn just tries to follow what everyone has determined, especially when it comes to shooting her music video.

While everyone was impressed with the set, Jocelyn felt like it wasn’t all to her liking. Jocelyn made the shooting atmosphere more intense .

This girl continues to impose all her desires on the crew and background dancers. Everyone felt how Jocelyn pushed herself too hard throughout the shoot.

On the other hand, Nikki’s gaze began to shift to one of Jocelyn’s backup dancers named Dyanne. He was curious, was Dyanne not only great at dancing or could this girl sing? It looks like Nikki has other plans that make him very excited .

Elsewhere, Chaim tries to find out what has been making Jocelyn confused for the last few days. Tedros’ name came up and it turned out that this man was the one who made Jocelyn 3.5 hours late to the shooting location.

It was Tedros who made a cut on Jocelyn’s thigh, resulting in the makeup crew having to take great pains to cover the wound. They took more than three hours, so the shooting process was disrupted. This is where Chaim is curious, who is the real Tedros?

Not according to expectations, all the pressure while filming this video clip made Jocelyn lose control. In fact, his last attempt failed miserably due to technical problems. Jocelyn no longer had any power , her makeup was ruined, her leg was injured and Jocelyn was in a lot of pain.

This girl called her mother for a while, this made everyone especially Chaim worried. As a result, Nikki decided that today’s shooting was over. Although Jocelyn was reluctant to admit that she could no longer continue today. Jocelyn just hopes that tomorrow will be better.

When Jocelyn sank into disappointment, Dyanne took her first steps towards gaining popularity. When meeting with Tedros, Dyanne said that Nikki Katz wanted to sign him.

As one of the people under his control, Tedros asked Dyanne so he could discuss the contract with Nikki.

Not long after, Tedros invited several people from his club to party at Jocelyn’s house. One of them is Chloe (Suzanna Son). That night everyone was lost in music, booze and cocaine.

As usual, Tedros turned into a motivator who made Jocelyn comfortable and passionate. However, the two of them didn’t actually make love, instead Tedros was directing Jocelyn, who now looked like a porn star.

Tedros narrated what Jocelyn had to do in bed. Meanwhile, this beautiful singer swiftly followed every step she said until Tedros started to join in and make love to her.

Sam Levinson’s Signature Sensual Style

Coming in to replace Amy Seimetz, Sam Levinson again created a new controversy. The Idol (2023) immediately became the target of netizens when the trailer was launched. In fact, the screening of the first two episodes at the 76th Cannes Film Festival was met with sharp criticism.

After watching the first episode, I finally know why many people say The Idol (2023) is a “semi-porn” series. In the opening part alone, it is explained that they exploit female characters and romanticize mental illness.

From the start we were presented with the appearance of Lily Deep Rose’s breasts without the slightest censorship. Then towards the end, scenes related to BDSM (Bondage, Dominance, Sadism and Masochism) begin to be shown.

It would be too early for me to claim that The Idol (2023) is a “semi-porn” series. But I admit that this series has the potential to show more extreme sensual and violent scenes.

This style is very typical of Sam Levinson. He is known as a director who likes to show the various difficulties and violence experienced by women. From the first second, Levinson guaranteed that The Idol (2023) had his own signature like Euphoria (2019).

However, regarding the cinematography and scoring , I can honestly say that the quality is no joke. The audience can fall in and enjoy the rhythm of the story, even though the plot is still unclear and seems rushed.

Confusing Acting

Starring Lily Depp Rose and Abel Tesfaye (The Weekend), to be honest I didn’t have high expectations for either of them.

In the opening , I was amazed by the way Lily represented various emotions through her facial expressions. But as the plot progresses, Lily is less able to control her emotions. Moreover, Jocelyn’s character is really a reflection of Britney Spears, but Lily’s acting is still not convincing.

Maybe because there is no plot that tells how the media and society exploit Jocelyn as a famous and controversial pop star. Levinson didn’t give the slightest glimpse of Jocelyn’s difficult times, so I couldn’t feel her emotions.

Turning to Abel Tesfaye, I can honestly say there is nothing impressive about him. Abel doesn’t seem to be acting, he’s just pretending to be a mysterious and lewd guy, but without a mature character. I hope that in the next episode he can appear even better.

The highly anticipated star of the show is Jenny Ruby Jane, a member of the Blackpink group who is making her debut with The Idol (2023). Unfortunately, Jenny didn’t get a proportional share. He just danced and said a few words.

Like most idols who enter the world of acting, Jenny needs flying hours and experience. It’s too early to judge her acting, but I don’t see the potential. Moreover, he has very minimal screen time , so we’ll see what surprises Jenny will give in the next episode.

My praise goes to Troye Sivan who plays the character of Xander. Not only has the outer appearance changed, but the character’s demeanor is more convincing than the two main actors. When watching the series, I didn’t think that Troye Sivan had such promising acting talent.

The Idol vs Rolling Stone

The Idol (2023) is one of the hottest series in 2023. How could it not be, the battle between production vs Rolling Stone is a highlight everywhere.

It all started when Rolling Stone published an article in March 2023. In their article, they publish the various turmoil behind the making of The Idol (2023).

How Amy Seimetz left the project even though the shooting process was 80% complete. Then, Abel Tesfaye’s request to make the story focus on him made Sam Levinson change the entire plot. In fact, there were several super hot scenes that ended up not being used.

This Rolling Stone article is a “ bombshell .” Many people agree that The Idol (2023) goes too far and is filled with turmoil.

As director and main actor, Abel Tesfaye responded casually. He thought the Rolling Stone article was free promotion, although in the end Tesfaye and Levinson were a bit annoyed.

Tesfaye initially responded to the article with a tweet reading “Did we upset you?” Not long after, Rolling Stone editor-in-chief Noah Shachtman responded by saying “Not at all.” The dispute between the two became a heated discussion.

HBO answered all of Rolling Stone’s speculation in an interview with Variety. They emphasized that this change was because the previous quality did not meet HBO standards.

Lily Rose Depp also defended the director who was accused of damaging the work environment by Rolling Stone. The actress said that Levinson is the best director she has ever worked with. Lily also defended Tesfaye’s acting, saying he succeeded in executing his character well.

The plot gets bolder and dirtier

After watching the second episode of The idol (2023) I finally knew why film critics said this series was “semi-porn”. The reason is simple, because in this episode Tedros’ character shows that he is a pornographic film director.

There are two scenes when Tedros directs one of the men in his club to orgasm in front of several women. She says that he is the main star and makes the women who watch him beg to fuck him.

At the end of the episode, Tedros directs Jocelyn to orgasm in the same way. This man seemed to enjoy watching Jocelyn’s solo performance, before he joined her.

These two plots made me a little uncomfortable when watching The Idol (2023). Maybe there is a feeling of guilt after watching this episode.

What’s more, Abel Tesfaye doesn’t seem to have made any significant progress. Even though he has more screen time , his character’s soul is still nil.

Hard work and changes in character were actually shown by Lily Rose Depp. In the shooting scene for the music video for the song “World Class Sinner,” Depp finally showed promising acting. I liked the vulnerable, scared and depressed side he showed in this episode.

Dyanne Becomes a Troublemaker?

For fans of Jennie Blackpink, you should be grateful, because in this second episode Jennie has more screen time . Even though it doesn’t last for a minute, at least there is significant development in the character Dyanne she plays.

In this episode, Nikki Katz looks impressed with Dyanne’s dancing abilities. In fact, Nikki did an impromptu casting to find out whether Dyanne had the potential to be her future singer?

Not only that, it seems like Dyanne has a close relationship with Tedros. In one scene, Dyanne mentions that she was the one who was instrumental in bringing Jocelyn to Tedros’ milk club.

It seems like there is something big behind Dyanne and Tedros’ relationship, especially since the man feels he owns Dyanne. That’s why every step Dyanne takes must be known by Tedros.

What does Dyanne actually have in mind and intend for Jocelyn? Will this girl be the bringer of luck or disaster in Jocelyn’s life?

The Idol (2023) deserves to be called one of the hottest American series throughout 2023. This series not only presents various hot scenes in each episode. However, the various controversies were very wild and hot.

FYI , The Idol (2023) is only recommended for mature audiences, as it features explicit depictions of sex, nudity, alcohol, drugs, and profanity.

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