Movie Reviews

10 Biggest Reveals About Celine Dion From Her New Documentary

Summary

  • Celine Dion’s new documentary, “Celine: I Am,” offers a raw and intimate look into the singer’s life, focusing on her diagnosis of stiff-person syndrome and the impact it has had on her career and personal life.
  • The documentary also highlights Dion’s dependency on medication to function and her experience of a spasm on camera, adding transparency to the already raw documentary.
  • While filming the documentary, Dion was working on the soundtrack for the 2023 romantic comedy film Love Again, and she participated in the documentary about Australian singer John Farnham.



Prime Video’s I Am: Celine Dion is honest and informative, revealing some fascinating details about the singer’s life. Directed by Irene Taylor, I Am hears largely from Dion as she brings audiences up to date on the state of her health. In late 2022, Dion shared with the world that she had recently been diagnosed with stiff-person syndrome (SPS) and would refrain from performing until further notice.

The Prime Video documentary follows Dion as she attends doctor’s appointments and attempts to regain the strength of her voice. In the documentary, Dion states several times just how much her voice means to her, referring to it as her guide in life. Without it, Dion feels incredibly lost and unsure, but she remains extremely vulnerable, willingly divulging personal information about her current mental and physical health. Not holding anything back, the information revealed by Dion is sad at times, though there are still moments of levity when her playful personality shines through.


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While it could’ve easily been indulgent, I Am keeps things grounded, never losing sight of Dion’s SPS and the powerful instrument that is her voice.


10 A Warehouse Holds Her Most Iconic Looks

Dion invites the cameras into her fashion warehouse.

Celine Dion stands with her arms bent at her sides and her index fingers pointing out.

While the past few years haven’t been full of glamorous red carpet and onstage looks for Dion, her love for fashion remains just as strong. In I Am, Dion brings the cameras into her wardrobe warehouse. Inside lies every iconic Celine Dion fashion moment one can think of. She even explains the design and intricate details of a few select pieces, showcasing her appreciation for the art.


The warehouse has racks and boxes full of outfits because, as Dion explains, after wearing such striking pieces of clothing one time for a public appearance, it doesn’t make sense to wear them again. The singer also has a humorous anecdote about her love for shoes. Dion jokes that instead of giving shoe sales associates her size, she asks them what sizes they have available and she’ll find a way to make it work.

9 Dion’s Vocal Issues Began Years Earlier

Signs of inconsistent vocal cords started showing 17 years ago.

Celine Dion sits in a large green chair.

The focus of I Am is Dion’s diagnosis of stiff-person syndrome, the impact it has on her life, and her perseverance in getting parts of her iconic voice back. Though Dion’s only been given the diagnosis in recent years, she shares that signs started appearing roughly 17 years ago. The range of Dion’s voice started to become limited and, as a result, she was no longer able to continue vocal warmups for as long as she used to.


Many times throughout I Am, Dion gets emotional as she reflects on the importance of her singing voice and her rehabilitation journey. During a conversation early in the documentary, Dion particularly mentions how she misses the crowd of fans just as much as she does the music itself. I Am puts the grand fanfare surrounding Dion into clear view through the use of concert footage.

8 Her Mom Made A Big Impact On Her Life

Dion shares how similar she is to her mother.

A family photo of Celine Dion, her parents, and her 13 siblings.

Growing up, Dion recalls being surrounded by love and music — two things she says have informed her way of life. I Am has a portion where Dion speaks highly of her mother’s musical talent and the sacrifices made for her 14 children. When they were kids, Dion remembers struggling financially, but her mother never let the children know that was the case.


Dion shares a bittersweet story about her when her mother made carrot pies (a combination of dough and carrots) and she was worried the kids would be put off by the concoction, but instead, they were delighted and found the meal to be quite delicious. As a child, Dion also sang at her older brother’s wedding and started to find an affection for performing, though she still had a way to go. Dion’s mother had to remind her that if something went wrong during a performance, she must continue as if nothing happened.

7 Dion Has A Necklace That Belonged To Maria Callas

The necklace gives Dion strength during hard times.

Celine Dion looks teary eyed while talking in her documentary.


A cherished gift from Dion’s late husband, René Angélil, is a necklace once owned by Maria Callas. Like Dion, Callas had a magnificent and recognizable voice. As an opera singer, Callas was well accomplished and able to sing a wide range of notes. Another parallel between the two singers is their vocal decline. While Dion is determined to push through her vocal struggles, Callas’ career faded to an end.

Still, Callas’ talent and fame are undeniable and it’s no wonder why Angélil gifted Dion the necklace. On her 2007 album D’elles, Dion’s song, “La diva” acts as a tribute to Callas. In I Am, the impact Callas has on Dion is established when she says the necklace, and the legacy of Callas, are what give her strength.

6 Dion Relied On Medication To Function

The singer vulnerably confesses to her dependency on various medications.

Celine Dion sits behind music stands and holds a microphone in her hand.


The show must go on” is a popular phrase in show business that says no matter what obstacles come up, the performance must continue. The phrase was a belief Dion had for a long time before her SPS diagnosis and her canceled residency. To combat the pain she was experiencing and to ensure she’d be able to continue performing, Dion discloses she was heavily reliant on medication.

At one point, Dion was taking about 80 to 90 milligrams of Valium a day, on top of other medication she didn’t detail. The medicine was taken so Dion could perform everyday tasks such as walking and swallowing. The intake of medication was increased in instances when she was performing. Dion said that the adrenaline before walking on stage made the effects of the medicine wear off, so, more and more pills were taken.


5 Dion Experienced A Spasm While Filming

The moment adds transparency to the already raw documentary.

Celine Dion sits in a room for her physical therapy appointment.

One of the most poignant parts of I Am is when Dion experiences a spasm on camera. The emergency makes for a difficult watch as her medical team works to calm her down. However, as vulnerable as Dion is throughout the rest of the documentary, the decision to keep the cameras rolling only makes sense. The main objective of I Am is to bring audiences up to date on Dion’s health struggles and how she’s impacted by the rare neurological disorder.

The part of I Am when Dion has a spasm depicts the extent of her struggles. At the beginning of the documentary, Dion chokes up when she sings for the cameras and her voice cracks. She says she dislikes showing people the difference in her voice and a similar sentiment is expressed when she tells her medical team she feels embarrassed whenever spasms occur. Nevertheless, Dion understands the importance of being honest and chooses to keep these moments in the documentary.


4 Dion Recorded The Soundtrack For Love Again

The task kept her busy, though it wasn’t always easy.

Celine Dion raises her hand and is standing in front of a studio microphone.

While filming the documentary, Dion was also working on Love Again, a 2023 romantic comedy film. The film stars Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Sam Heughan, as well as Dion, portraying a fictionalized version of herself. I Am shows Dion in the studio recording her lines in French and recording a song from the film’s soundtrack titled “Love Again.”

The latter task proved to be the most difficult. Dion’s voice repeatedly cracked and she had to ask for the track to be played from the beginning multiple times. On top of her physical therapy, projects like Love Again and singing for fun with those around her are ways Dion continues to strengthen her vocal cords. Certain parts of the song were a challenge, but Dion’s persistence never allowed her to give up.


3 Dion Is A Fan Of John Farnham

The singer spoke highly of him and participated in his documentary.

Celine Dion and John Farnham are performing on stage together.

Another film Dion was a part of while filming I Am was John Farnham: Finding the Voice. The documentary is about the career of famous Australian singer John Farnham. While preparing for her interview, Dion spoke about her fascination with singers who had a raspy voice, particularly in the rock genre. Dion playfully sang a riff imitating Farnham and compared it to her typical ballads.

As she spoke highly of Farnham’s music, a clip of the two performing on stage together played. Dion never anticipated she’d get the chance to perform with Farnham, but she was finally able to when she was on tour and had a stop in Australia. Initially, Dion requested Farnham’s “You’re the Voice” be added to her setlist, but she wound up getting to sing the iconic song with Farnham himself.


2 Dion Used Tricks On Stage To Save Her Voice

The audience was included in the performance more than ever.

Celine Dion points the microphone to the audience.

Something made clear throughout I Am is Dion’s dedication to her craft. Many times throughout the documentary, Dion speaks highly of her singing skills, claiming it to be her biggest strength. Therefore, the detail that Dion had audiences sing parts of her songs as a means to save her voice is heartbreaking. Dion’s voice had already been suffering from vocal spasms, so to avoid a vocal crack or strain on her cords, Dion pointed the microphone at the crowd.


Other times she’d tap the microphone and act as if there were technical difficulties, saving herself some time and allowing her to take a momentary pause from singing. Dion describes the acts as cheating and feels bad lying to the crowd about what was happening behind the scenes. The action of lying, whether it be why she’s not singing certain parts of her songs or why shows were canceled, is something Dion says she can no longer do.

1 Dion Is Determined To Perform Again

She’s taking her recovery process seriously.

Celine Dion is crying during her documentary interview.

The biggest takeaway from I Am is the current state of Dion’s career. Even though Dion doesn’t have any upcoming performances scheduled, her career is far from over. Made clear throughout the entirety of the documentary, she is not giving up and hopes to regain the original power of her voice. With all that’s shown in I Am, Dion seems to have a healthy balance of work and rest, with those around her encouraging her through the recovery process.


Only time will tell where Dion’s career goes from this point on, but she makes a powerful statement at the end of the I Am: Celine Dion documentary. Her words perfectly encapsulate her mindset and the core message of the documentary. Through tears, Dion says to the camera, “If I can’t run, I’ll walk. If I can’t walk, I’ll crawl. But I won’t stop.

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