Ever since it started up back in 2006, YouTube has become one of the most iconic and most used websites ever. The site has recently started YouTube Red, a paid subscription service that will offer original series' and films. One of the first original films to debut on the service is YouTube sensation Lilly Singh's documentary A Trip to Unicorn Island and here's my review of it.

Beginning her YouTube journey in 2010, Lilly has grown from an ordinary girl to a global phenomenon and one of the biggest stars to come out of YouTube, with almost 8 million subscribers and over 1 billion video views. A Trip to Unicorn Island is a documentary that follows her incredible 27 city world tour and brings her eponymous happy place to life on the big screen; Unicorn Island being her colourful place of happiness and serenity. Fighting depression and initially starting a YouTube channel in the hopes of self-meditating and making herself happy by making others happy, we really go deep into just how things began for "your girl Superwoman". From humble begins to stardom, we hear the story of how she she grew and grew and took the world by storm with her "A Trip to Unicorn Island" world tour, learning just what it takes to achieve your dreams; never giving up and always fighting for happiness.
I have been a big fan of Lilly's for years. Her videos are hilarious and unique and she brings a genuine warmth and wit to them. She's a very influential figure too; showing that anyone of any ethnicity and gender and culture can make it in this world; always staying positive and humble; just so genuinely funny and endearing; having grown into a international YouTube star. Her documentary, A Trip To Unicorn Island, really delves deep into her life and is an emotional, incredible piece of work that truly does the talented force that is Lilly Singh justice. For starters, this is a really inspiring piece of work. Singh's success story is unique and poignant and very inspiring, as is this film as a whole. The general idea encompassing "Unicorn Island" is beautiful and whilst the message of "never giving up on your dream" and "always fighting for happiness" is fairly clich├ęd, director Scott Winn (who makes his debut with this) executes it so brilliantly and it feels so genuine and powerful here that it works so well.

You really root for Lilly here and you quickly care for her and invest in her story because of how charismatic and real and genuine she is as a person. She is instantly likable and just seems like such a charismatic, witty and wonderfully ordinary and genuine person. What we see in this documentary is a look behind the camera and behind-the-scenes of her life and compared to other celebrities, Lilly seems very down-to-earth and normal and this adds a sense of relatability to her situations and her stories and it makes the proceedings all the more inspiring since we can almost see ourselves within her and we really root for her to succeed and that's exactly what she does. Of course, as is with any documentary of similarity, there's the whole argument on bias and what we see is merely only what Lilly herself wants us to see, seeing as she contributed majorly to the production of this project. Nonetheless, she isn't portrayed as idealistic nor, contrary to her username, is she shown as a superwoman. We see her as a normal, goofy girl and we see her struggle too and it's incredibly emotional and dramatic, made all the more hard-hitting and effective because of how much we actually invest into Singh's story and into her as a person.
This film is riveting from the get-go and Winn's direction is great, he does a superb job of executing this premise and handling the craftsmanship of the material here. As inspiring and emotional as it may be at times, it can't take away from the fact that is really, quite simply, just such a fun documentary! We really get enthralled into the environment and this world tour, as if we are there in person, because of just how great the atmosphere and tone created is. It's such a fun film and it's a lot of fun following Singh's journey and learning about her and her channel and the inner workings of the brain that brings us the humour of the IISuperWomanII videos from all the great people that have had the honour of working with her - seeing Dwayne Johnson make an appearance to talk about his experience and his love for Lilly is easily a highlight. Of course, this is a very funny documentary too. Singh injects a lot of humour into the story, as expected, and keeps us laughing and smiling throughout. I had a blast watching this film and taking a trip to Unicorn Island.

Although, it's not a perfect film, unfortunately, and it's not without flaw. For starters, as is the case with a lot of documentaries, the line between fact and fiction is often blurred and there are moments which you can't help but feel are rather contrived and just don't work in conjunction with everything else. This is a very real and very raw film and and a very genuine and honest look at Lilly Singh and her world tour so it's a shame when this ideal is presented and takes away from the magic of that aspect. It's also a very fairly imbalanced film when it comes to juggling tone. It's an inspiring and touching story that is happy and bubbly and upbeat but is also very dramatic and sombre and deep and whilst both sides of the tone hit well and are impactful, the balance between the two is a little choppy and the juggling between the juxtaposing themes and tones doesn't flow very seamlessly at times, with the film feeling sporadic in tone.
Aside from that though, in the end, the overall quality of A Trip to Unicorn Island is of high finesse. This is a very stylish and thoroughly enjoyable documentary and an essential one to watch for today's generation, inspiring them and spreading a beautiful message about happiness. Lilly Singh is a forced to be reckoned with and this movie shows just that. It's a ton of fun to watch and it's an emotional roller coaster that is heartfelt and raw and resonating. There's a reason that she's such a beloved and cherished idol and this film really focuses on that and shows us the sparkling and lovable Lilly we all know and love. We see her at her weakest and we see her at her strongest and it's incredible. YouTube Red may still be picking up traction and a lot may dismiss the idea of it but, if you can, it's worth checking out just for this little gem of a film. It's super (pun very much intended). It really is; it's a powerful, crazy, fun adventure indeed.

A Trip To Unicorn Island is available to watch here now, on YouTube Red.

A Trip to Unicorn Island is an inspiring, feel-good and endearing documentary that will make you laugh, cry and keep you smiling throughout.

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About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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