Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour First Reviews: Don't Miss It, Even If You Saw the Live Show

Swifties rejoice! Critics say the pop icon's record-breaking concert on the big screen offers the best seat in the house and spectacularly captures the magic and energy of the show.

by | October 12, 2023 | Comments


As if Swifties needed convincing, the concert film Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour is apparently the must-see movie of the season. The feature-length documentary shares a cinematic version of Taylor Swift’s live show, specifically capturing the singer-songwriter’s performances at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles this summer. Following the film’s premiere on Wednesday night, reviews are pouring in, and they all recommend seeing this already-selling-out theatrical event.

Here’s what critics are saying about Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour:

Does it live up to the hype?

“It gives the audience directly what they want: the ability to experience Eras in a theater with the best seat in the house.” – Kristen Lopez, The Wrap

“The singer promised that she would work to bring the tour to as many people as humanly possible. Overall, that’s exactly what she’s accomplished with Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour.” – Katie Campione, Deadline Hollywood Daily

“The film more than justifies the hype and rather than a rushed cash-in, Swift has gifted her fans a spectacular, lovingly crafted movie that somehow captures everything great about the live show.” – Keiran Southern, Times (UK)

“Serious fans know the setlist by heart: This might be the most spoiler-proof blockbuster of all time.” – Chris Willman, Variety

“Filled with both spectacle and strikingly intimate moments, The Eras Tour is almost too much of a good thing — so many hits, so many memorable set pieces, so many peaks.” – Tim Grierson, Screen International

Taylor Swift in Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour (2023)

(Photo by AMC Theatres)

Does it accurately convey the Eras Tour experience?

Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour radiates the same energy that reverberated through the stands each night, complete with the deafening sound of the crowd. Expect to leave the theater with your ears ringing.” – Katie Campione, Deadline Hollywood Daily

“Though it isn’t possible for a movie to take the place of a live concert, Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour comes as close as possible, less because of how the movie is captured and more in how fans are going to interact with it.” – Philip Cosores, Uproxx

“At my premiere screening, The Eras Tour played less like a film than an extension of the concert experience: Audience members sang along and danced in the aisle and cheered so loudly I often couldn’t tell where the roar of the crowd onscreen ended and the roar of the crowd in the theater began.” – Angie Han, Hollywood Reporter

“Director Sam Wrench hasn’t really messed with what millions have already seen on stage (or watched via bootleg fan live streams) this past spring and summer, apart from the addition of digital title cards that make it clear to less devoted viewers which ‘era’ is being entered into.” – Chris Willman, Variety

“The runtime sails, especially as it doesn’t have the downtime you’d experience at an actual concert. Swift and Wrench have done something truly special with the Eras film and that is making a colorful celebration of music and, unintentionally, cinema.” – Kristen Lopez, The Wrap

“It’s impressive that The Eras Tour manages to fit in roughly 40 songs in the span of 169 minutes. As with many massive stadium shows, the film can occasionally be exhausting, the prolonged high levels of technical mastery risking becoming monotonous.” – Tim Grierson, Screen International

Poster image for Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour (2023)

(Photo by AMC Theatres)

How is the concert itself, for those who missed it (or didn’t try) the first time, live?

“A staggering feat. In the space of one seamless performance, Swift is at turns a playfully eccentric artist, a country star and a genuine pop icon. Yet for all the spectacle, it might be those acoustic songs that linger longest in the memory.” – Kevin EG Perry, NME (New Musical Express

“Whether you were at the concert or seeing it for the first time, Swift put on a show that dazzles, amazes, and enchants… Hits like ‘Shake It Off’ and ‘Cruel Summer’ are present and accounted for, but it’s wonderful to get to see how Swift plays with her audience and plays different characters during the performance.” – Kristen Lopez, The Wrap

“To see all the chapters of her career laid out next to each other is to marvel at how much she’s transformed herself over the years.” – Angie Han, Hollywood Reporter

“Unless you’re a devoted fan, concert films can be a rather dreary experience but the sheer spectacle and energy of the film is enough to convert even the most rabid anti-Swiftite.” – Lina Das, Daily Telegraph (UK)

Does the film offer more than what fans saw live?

“Aside from a few onstage ‘bloopers’ over the closing credits, there’s next to nothing in the way of supplementary material — no interviews, no behind-the-scenes footage, no commentary on what any of this means.” – Angie Han, Hollywood Reporter

“It is nice watching the end credits where Swift fans are shown alongside moments where Swift endures costume malfunctions.” – Kristen Lopez, The Wrap

“Wrench and cinematographer Brett Turnbull don’t avoid the obvious shots, but they also have some wrinkles up their sleeves that startle you out of any sense you’re just watching those concert screens redux.” – Chris Willman, Variety

Taylor Swift and backup dancers in Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour (2023)

(Photo by AMC Theatres)

Should fans who went to the live show still see the film?

“Even if you have been treated to the live show, The Eras Tour still gives everyone in the audience a chance to experience every song from the best seat in the house. You’ll get up close and personal with Swift and also see sweeping shots that put the stage’s stunning visuals on full display.” – Katie Campione, Deadline Hollywood Daily

“Even the best seats in a stadium could provide only so much detail. But on the big screen, the close-ups are glorious, whether zooming in on Swift’s cat-eye makeup outlining her crystal blue eyes, the moss covering her piano and the sweat sticking to her bangs during ‘Champagne Problems’ and her meticulous table setting at the start of ‘Tolerate It.’” – Melissa Ruggieri, USA Today

“You can see literally every sequin and bead. One of several reasons to see Eras in a theater, to take in the detail of the massive undertaking that is Swift’s tour.” – Kristen Lopez, The Wrap

“The big-screen treatment allows fans who have seen the live show a chance to take in details of the performances and production that get easily obscured by the overwhelming nature of live music.” – Philip Cosores, Uproxx

“In IMAX, the film makes excellent use of large-format screens, especially when Wrench shows Swift as a rather small speck in a sea of fans, their cellphone lights illuminating the darkness.” – Tim Grierson, Screen International

Taylor Swift in Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour (2023)

(Photo by AMC Theatres)

Is it possible the film is actually better than the live experience?

The Eras Tour has enough confidence to let the hard work that went into the tour’s design speak for itself, although Wrench’s camera puts the viewer much closer to the action that most ticket holders would have enjoyed at the actual show.” – Tim Grierson, Screen International

“Obviously, fans get a lot more really, really close face-time with Swift, to the point where they might ask questions like: How is it possible that her hair gets a little moist, but we never see her actually break a sweat?” – Chris Willman, Variety

Is the film missing anything that might disappoint fans?

“The concert film is not a completely unexpurgated version of the show; the first viewers to see the movie quickly realized, to the chagrin of many, that a few numbers were cut, including ‘Cardigan’ and, as seen in the final stretch of the tour, the Haim collaboration ‘No Body, No Crime.’” – Chris Willman, Variety

“It’s sure to come as a disappointment to many, as it did for me, that about one or two songs from each era were sacrificed, likely for the sake of time… The decision is understandable, given the constraints of theatrical releases, but some of the choices felt a bit odd.” – Katie Campione, Deadline Hollywood Daily

“It skips a handful of songs, including ‘The Archer’ and ‘Cardigan.’ But what remains is more than enough to leave the most hardcore Swiftie spent with delight.” – Angie Han, Hollywood Reporter

99% TAYLOR SWIFT | THE ERAS TOUR (2023) opens in theaters on October 12, 2023.

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