‘Look at Me: XXXTentacion’ Review: Develops an incomplete picture of a troubled life

"Look At Me: XXXTENTACION" tries to thread a needle by both celebrating the late musical star's talent and addressing his mental-health issues while acknowledging allegations of domestic violence.

Produced by his mother and manager, the result is an awkward construct that does not ignore but occasionally downplays his violent behaviour.

"I felt like my son's story needed to be told," Cleopatra Bernard says of the documentary, which details how Florida teenager Jahseh Onfroy, a.k.a. XXXTentacion, became one of the world's most-streamed artists before his death in 2018.

Any professional accomplishments, however, were accompanied by acts of violence and his alleged battery of girlfriend Geneva Ayala, who is among those interviewed, with photos demonstrating the brutal extent of that abuse.

"As a result, she's terrified. She believes I'm going to murder her "Despite repeatedly insisting that Ayala was lying about him, Onfroy says in one recording.

Videos also show various fights and assaults on others, which have become synonymous with his brand.

Bernard admits that image worked in XXXTentacion's favour, saying of his career, "He figured out a way to get attention to himself, and even though it was negative things, it worked.

"To her credit, she also meets Ayala during the film, who was receiving threats and social media backlash from his fans at the time due to his legal problems.

Nonetheless, director Sabaah Folayan faces a difficult task in presenting Onfroy's personal struggles and Ayala's victimisation while also highlighting his brief career and talent, primarily through interviews with friends and family.

"Look At Me: XXXTENTACION" focuses on the good that XXXTentacion did for his fans, with some of them discussing how his music helped them get through difficult times.

The documentary's core message is to convey the factors that shaped his work, and it contends, based on the testimony of those close to him, that Onfroy was in the process of making changes to his life when he died. "Look at Me" gives hints about what happened before that, but it's not a complete picture.