Of all the stars in Hollywood's history, no one had a more potent mix of glamor and tragedy than Marilyn Monroe. Through performed readings of her personal papers, this film explores the life and personal thoughts of this seminal movie star and how she achieved her dream with determination and audacity. Furthermore, through additional readings and interviews of her colleagues and acquaintances, we also follow her emotional self-destruction under the sexist pressures of Hollywood until her premature death in 1962. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I went to this movie knowing very little about Marilyn Monroe, and glad to have the opportunity to learn more about her. Unfortunately, the way the film was put together made it highly disappointing to me.
We are told at the start that recently unearthed writings of the actress herself are to be incorporated in the film, and this sounded promising to me. However, the rediscovered writings are actually the biggest problem with this movie. While these notes, journal entries, etc. show Marilyn Monroe at her most honest and unguarded, they are included via dramatic readings by a long list of contemporary actors. The actors are shot superimposed on images of the original writings themselves, pages filled with a rather childish scrawl. The photography of the actors as they read is filled with hyperactive panning, zooming and cutting that quickly becomes highly distracting. Also, the actors' dramatic readings are generally stilted and end up being quite grating because as examples of acting they are very subpar. Unaccountably, the actors often do not read Marilyn's exact words, carelessly omitting or adding a word here or there. You know this because the actor is reading the line while the line is shown enlarged in the background at the same time in Marilyn's handwriting. Sometimes the version read by the actor is actually meaningfully different because of the omission or inclusion of a word or two. I couldn't understand why short phrases couldn't just be read accurately by the actors... or was this their "attempt" to add their own interpretation to historical documents that should have simply been left alone?
Toward the end of the movie, I took to closing my eyes whenever an actor came on screen to declaim yet another excerpt from Marilyn Monroe's diaries. Not watching the hyperactive camera work made these frequent interludes more bearable but they were still painful enough.
It seems obvious that the film maker decided that having a narrator simply read the excerpts from Marilyn's diaries as a voice over would be too boring or passe. The film maker apparently thought that dramatic readings by well-known actors would jazz up the journal writings and make the film more exciting for viewers. In my case this did not happen and I really hated this pointless approach to the written text.
Simply put, the film maker's obsession with making historical material more exciting/lively was a complete turnoff for me. The dramatic readings were frequent, intrusive, uninteresting and often ridiculous. This is what happens when someone tries too hard to be liked.
As you have no doubt guessed I do not recommend this movie. If there's another way to learn more about Marilyn Monroe through a movie, then do yourself a favor and go that other way.
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