Marilyn Monroe is just as famous now as she was before her death in 1962. The NBC hit series SMASH focuses on the life of the young actress who died when she was 36, of an apparent suicide. Love, Marilyn is a unique documentary about Marilyn mostly in her own words from documents and audio tapes that have recently surfaced. She wrote in journals and notebooks her thoughts, experiences, and even poems. Viewers will see her own handwriting, as the text is being read aloud by performers like Elizabeth Banks, Ellen Burstyn, Glenn Close, Hope Davis, Viola Davis, Marisa Tomei, Even Rachel Wood, Lindsey Lohan, Adrien Brody, F. Murray Abraham, Jeremy Piven, and many more.
In this documentary, which consists of commentary, journal readings, and audio and video clips, the dichotomy that was Marilyn Monroe surfaces in a more direct way than ever before. Marilyn (Norma Jean) knew Marilyn Monroe was an invention and she felt Marilyn Monroe was a separate entity from her real self. But how could she live her life without Marilyn Monroe? Monroe was whom the public wanted. This troubled and tormented young woman is an example of complex emotions, behavior, and a series of bad and sad personal relationships and experiences.
After watching Love, Marilyn, viewers will feel a little closer to the complicated woman and her very strange yet public life. Her sexual life is not skipped over; however if you are looking for a scoop about JFK, forget about it. That relationship is not addressed in this film. What are addressed are her marriages to Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller, and their feelings about her. An interview with Miller adds to the history of their relationship, in his own words.
Marilyn Monroe is dead so she cannot speak for herself, however with her journals, letters, and diaries, this is the next best thing we have as an account of her inner feelings, inner torment, and inner desires. Listening to what she wrote is a telling story of the confusion that crowded her mind.
I am not a fan of Ms. Monroe, however after screening this film I can say that I feel I know her a little better, as if anyone could really know this troubled woman. She had an inner drive to better herself, which is commendable. Although she never achieved the level of happiness she desired, she made herself into a beloved star. And, 52 years after her death we are still talking about her.
Love, Marilyn is directed by Emmy winning and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Liz Garbus and premiers June 17, 2013 on HBO.