Miley Cyrus shares her struggles as a songstress with a young audience, all while staying upbeat for the Disney brand.
Hannah Montana: the Movie is based on the Disney Channel TV series Hannah Montana, a show starring Miley Cyrus and Billy Ray Cyrus, a father-and-daughter team from Tennessee. The movie and the TV series are connected to each other, as both focus on the main story line of Miley as she navigates life with an alter-ego, the famous popstar, Hannah Montana.
Though no stranger to challenges, Miley Cyrus makes the most difficult choice of her life in Hannah Montana: The Movie. She has adjusted to tapping into “The Best of Both Worlds”–an average school girl and a celebrity–but now has to choose just one over the other.
Life as a Farm Girl
When Miley is forced to spend two weeks in her hometown, located on a farm in Tennessee, for her grandmother’s birthday, she soon discovers what’s been missing from her lavish lifestyle. The film adds a personal touch: the farm featured is based on the one Miley grew up on Franklin, Tennessee. The viewers learn small but endearing details, like that she spent most of her time riding horses in the countryside. Her father, Billy Ray Cyrus, was a famous country singer at the time, setting Miley apart from many other teenagers in rural Tennessee. Miley Cyrus’s character, Miley Stewart, recognizes her old pet horse called “Blue Jeans” when she returns to her old stomping grounds. This lovable creature symbolizes a country lifestyle that Miley has grown fond of.
Miley’s childhood also involved braiding her pet horses’ tails and learning horseback riding. In one moving scene, all of the Miley’s family members gather around Grandma Ruby to celebrate her birthday, viewers can distinguish between two music genres: pop and country. Billy Ray Cyrus’s character, Robbie, is seen wearing a cowboy hat playing an acoustic guitar, a perfect contrast to the glitzy persona of Hannah Montana.
In Miley’s childhood bedroom, she sees a photograph of Grandma Ruby and herself as a little girl, smiling and holding onto her pet bunny. The photograph symbolizes the family-centered lifestyle she enjoyed before she moved to Malibu, California. Miley was basically your average kid, spending time with siblings and her pets and even singing with her daddy.
Struggling with Identity
The main theme of struggling with one’s identity while wanting to be somebody else is illustrated in many scenes throughout the movie. The BonChic magazine cover and the USA Today newspaper headlines covering Hannah Montana’s fight with Tyra Banks is a symbol of keeping up with a hectic celebrity life, especially when meeting other famous figures. Miley isn’t aware that there are journalists working for the tabloids determined to uncover her biggest secret, which could flip her world upside down.
Miley’s dad isn’t happy with Miley’s recent actions while she’s disguised as Hannah. This concern is also symbolic of the conflict of switching between two identities: working as a celebrity among paparazzi can interfere with spending time with friends and family. Some celebrities can also become selfish when they go after all of the opportunities that come with being famous: living in a mansion, having lots of fans, and earning loads of money. However, the reality of celebrity life comes with a price.
Like most people in her life, Miley’s childhood friend, Travis, is unaware that she’s Hannah Montana. She’s able to guard her secret well because Miley and Hannah are completely different from and independent of each other. The blonde wig Miley wears symbolizes her ability to keep her double-life a secret. After being caught by Travis while switching disguises, Miley realizes that being Hannah isn’t as easy and glamorous as she thought it was.
Hannah Montana: the Movie featured memorable songs that remain popular even to this day. One song, “Hoedown Throwdown” is sung by Miley Cyrus herself and is actually a dance that any viewer could learn. Even today, people can still learn these easy moves. The “Hoedown Throwdown” song has strong country flavor and takes place inside a huge barn, where the hoedown takes place. Miley is seen wearing country attire, consisting of a blue skirt and cowboy boots. Her outfit symbolizes Miley adjusting to her country lifestyle, which is in fact her old life.
Another song that Miley sings as herself is “Butterfly Fly Away”, performed as a duet with Billy Ray. Miley sings this song after breaking down in tears when Travis discovers her secret, which he sees as deception. The song symbolizes the bond between father and daughter and serves as a metaphor for a child’s transition into adolescence and later, adulthood. The title of the song, “Butterfly Fly Away” indicates the child starting as a caterpillar, or young school kid, then slowly growing and changing into a butterfly, or young adult. The butterfly grows wings and flies away, a symbol of the child leaving the warm cocoon of a comforting family and putting herself out there into the world. While at the caterpillar stage, the young child may dream of becoming the adult it will be one day at the butterfly stage.
When Miley is in Malibu, disguised as Hannah in order to prevent journalist Oswald from exposing her secret, she performs “Let’s Get Crazy”. The song is classified as a dance-rock genre, consisting of electric guitars and hip-hop dancers. As Hannah, Miley performs this song at her best friend Lilly’s Sweet Sixteen celebration at the Santa Monica Pier. The lyrics center around a typical party, whether it’s for a birthday or a holiday, and having fun with friends without worrying about responsibilities.
Finally, at the end of the movie, is “The Climb”, is performed by Miley Cyrus without any disguise. While as Hannah, Miley is singing “Rock Star”, but upon seeing Travis, she declares that she can no longer live a lie, and shows her true self in front of the audience. She makes amends for hiding her identity and fixes the mistakes that piled up from being two different people at once.
This song is considered to be Miley Cyrus’s signature song because it reflects on all of Miley’s experiences, which viewers see throughout the movie. It is classified as a country pop song, reflecting the overall message of finding one’s identity and diving into self-discovery. In addition, the music video for “The Climb” shows Miley Cyrus walking through the desert at the break of dawn, climbing a mountain. The music video is closely connected to the movie as several scenes from the movie are shown in the video reflect Miley’s life as a difficult yet rewarding journey.
Viewers can relate this song to any experiences they have in their personal lives, as everyone must make important decisions to find themselves, even if they aren’t popstars. “The Climb” symbolizes overcoming difficulties and even tragedies with support from friends and family, moving forward with life, not giving up on yourself, and setting emotionally truthful goals for yourself. This song is a modern classic that anyone can sing to and resonate with.