In his Netflix documentary, Canadian wunderkind crooner Shawn Mendes offers a behind-the-scenes view of humble stardom.
Shawn Mendes, the 22-year-old Canadian folk-pop singer with the velour trill, is a bard of puppy love. Throughout his prolific oeuvre — three studio albums since 2015 — the male ingénue guilelessly croons about budding romance and sweeping passion and blossoming youth like a modern-day Romeo hopping from muse to muse. "I can't write one song that's not about you!" he serenades in "If I Can't Have You," his infectiously percussive 2019 single. "Can't drink without thinkin' about you! Is it too late to tell you that everything means nothing if I can't have you?" His songs are as peppy and mellifluous as his persona is honeyed and nonthreatening.
Wunderkind Mendes rose to prominence in the post-Bieber era of democratized stardom, acquiring a dedicated fan base of predominantly young girls in his early teen years after posting his musical self-recordings on Vine. (A lifetime ago for the youthful singer was only just 2013 for the rest of us hoary crones.) Since then, he's evolved his soulful teeny-bopper brand, sprouting from a swoopy-haired boy with a guitar and a falsetto into a savvy young man who will happily allow a camera crew to record him being "contemplative" in the shower, bare pecs and all.
The Netflix documentary Shawn Mendes: In Wonder glided over me like a lilac cloud and when it was done, I wasn't sure I had watched anything at all. Neither a rousing concert film nor a juicy "insider's peek" chronicle of fame, In Wonder may be best described as pillow-soft agitprop, an extended commercial inculcating you into the Mendesverse ahead of his new album set to drop next month. (Both Mendes and his manager Andrew Gertler are listed as executive producers in the credits, which tells you more about the film's intent than any single scene.)