A documentary about Lil Nas X made its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on Saturday night (TIFF). Co-directors Carlos López Estrada and Zac Manuel filmed the rapper as he embarked on his first major tour in 2022. As well as extensive interviews with Lil Nas X, they talked to fans, friends and family members.
One of those family members was one of his brothers, Tramon Hill. He talked of the impact his Grammy-winning brother’s coming out had on him and the wider world. Lil Nas X came out as gay in 2019.
“My brother really opened doors for a lot of people,” Hill says in the film. “Yeah, he opened a door for me. What I mean by that, like, I’m not gay, though, you feel me? I’m bisexual. He helped me be real with myself. My brother made me more open to it.”
Hill went on to say that he worried about how friends would react to his sexuality. However, his brother’s confidence boosted his own.
“If you f*ck with me, you f*ck with me. If you don’t, you don’t. Bye. Get out of my presence. I don’t need you,” Hill says. “At the end of the day, people are going to f*ck with who they f*ck with, so stop trying to chase a friend. A friend is going to always be there.”
Bomb hoax at screening
Lil Nas X, the co-directors and other key members of the crew turned up for Saturday night’s premiere of Lil Nas X: Long Live Montero. However, the screening did not pass off without some drama.
The event was delayed by around half an hour by what turned out to be a hoax bomb threat.
Variety says the premiere was due to take place at 10pm at Roy Thomson Hall. The co-directors and editor Andrew Morrow arrived on the red carpet. Lil Nas X then turned up in his car. However, that’s when organizers heard about the bomb threat. Lil Nas X was told to wait until a sweep of the venue was conducted.
A spokesperson for TIFF told Variety: “Earlier this evening, we were made aware by the Toronto Police Service of an investigation in the vicinity of the red carpet for the ‘Lil Nas X: Long Live Montero’ screening. Our standard security measures remained in place during this time and the screening commenced with a slight delay. To our knowledge, this was a general threat and not directed at the film or the artist.”
Reactions to Lil Nas X’s documentary
Following the screening, several reviews of the film have gone online. Variety led the way, praising its exploration of the real Lil Nas X.
“The movie, co-directed with scrappy vibrance by Carlós Lopez Estrada and Zac Manuel, is a spontaneous, engaging ramble that chronicles Lil Nas X’s first concert tour, which took place from September to November 2022. But the film also has the quality of an on-the-fly psychodrama, or at least a kind of meditation, since Lil Nas X speaks, at great length, about what it takes — and what it means — for a star like himself to be queer and open about it.”
The Hollywood Reporter was less gushing. It calls the film “plodding” and “a fragmented and ultimately pallid portrait of a glittering musician.”
Indiewire took a similar view.
“The artist’s bewitching personality, powered by an insatiable wit, papers over the little insight we’re given into him: his likes and dislikes, tastes and loves — made even more distant by his charming brand of humor,” says reviewer Robert Daniels. He concludes the film hides its subject behind a “brand building, pop mythologizing gauze.”
There’s no release date yet for Lil Nas X: Long Live Montero but expect it to appear soon.