Love, Marilyn (12A)

Directed by Liz Garbus
Based on the book 'Fragments, Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters' edited by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
FACT, Liverpool
25th October - 31st October 2013

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

Early in this documentary one incredible fact is revealed - over a thousand books have been written and published about Marilyn Monroe since she died in 1962. Not bad for a mediocre actress.

In an astounding comment, in a clip from the film, Lee Strasberg, the American film director and acting teacher compared her ability to act with that of Marlon Brando.

Love, Marilyn draws upon new material about her derived from recently discovered boxes of her highly confessional and introspective letters and diaries.

Actresses such as Glenn Close, Uma Thurman, Zoe Saldana and Viola Davis read the excerpts from these sources. I found this method of conveying Monroe's innermost thoughts distracting and unconvincing.

The documentary also shows never-before-seen photographs, home movies and interviews.

One major gripe Monroe had, even at the height of her fame, was being typecast as the dumb blond. In Some Like It Hot, co-starring Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, the character she played thought the two men dressed as women were actually females!

One of the most disturbing parts of this account of her life was recollected by a friend. She had gone to the ladies toilet to find out why she was taking so long there. When she entered the room she saw her staring at the mirror. "What are you doing?" she asked. "I am looking at her," replied Monroe. Creepy.

Some important aspects of her life are not mentioned. For example, her sexual liaisons with John F. Kennedy and the sometimes daily sessions she had with psychoanalyst Ralph Greenson in the latter years of her life. as she became increasingly distraught by the world around her in many ways.

Nevertheless the documentary is a good companion piece to another made about her, produced in 2008, titled Marilyn; The Last Sessions, which focuses on the mind therapy sessions she had with Greenson.

Rest assured, Love, Marilyn will not be the last documentary to be made about Norma Jeane!

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