Film Review: Love, Marilyn

‘We all lose our charms in the end’ sang Marilyn Monroe once upon a time. Marilyn herself never did, which accounts for much of the fascination that the star still holds.

Filmmaker Liz Garbus uses recently uncovered documents to paint a picture of Marilyn Monroe using the actress’ own words. A variety of actors and actresses convey the words of Marilyn from her letters and diaries. Other contributors include friends of the late actress and experts…

Liz Garbus’ documentary on Marilyn Monroe is a fascinating watch. There have been several other documentaries on the star. Garbus’ film differentiates itself from others due to the fact that the emphasis remains on Marilyn Monroe’s own words. As these documents have been recently discovered, the film offers something fresh.

Unlike other documentaries which have been concerned with conspiracies surrounding the actresses’ death or rumours about her private life, Love, Marilyn focuses on her feelings about different aspects of her life. Although the recollections of others do appear, the vast majority of the film concerns Marilyn’s own words.

Love, Marilyn feels less like a traditional documentary due to its style. There is no narrator, instead numerous Hollywood stars read from the diaries and letters of Marilyn and others. There is an array of actors and actresses, including Uma Thurman, Glenn Close and Viola Davis. The fact that different actresses  are used throughout to voice Marilyn rather than just one means that the actress is not imitated. Furthermore, the variety of contributors exhibits the effect Marilyn still has on contemporary Hollywood.

Love, Marilyn is essential viewing for those even with just a passing interest in Marilyn Monroe.

Love, Marilyn is being screened at the London Film Festival in October 2012.