I Am Heath Ledger is a feature length documentary celebrating the life of Heath Ledger: actor, artist and icon. The documentary provides an intimate look at Heath Ledger through the lens of his own camera as he films and often performs in his own personal journey.
[referring to how Heath learned character acting from Mel Gibson while they filmed The Patriot]
he used to say it's not always about what Mel says, it's about what he doesn't say
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A beautiful, human & touching documentary. But, where are Heath's films?
I am a huge fan of Heath. I actually discovered him when he was already dead. He struck me and enchanted me, and I suffered a Heath's fever that lasted more than a year. I bought all his (16) films, and saw all his TV series. I also spent more than 3 months writing an article about him. Today, my obsession is gone, but the admiration will always be there. So, I was eagerly waiting for that new documentary about him. I watched it with my husband (who fell asleep) on our cinema projector, and, although the documentary is beautiful and touching, I must say I was a bit disappointed. I wanted more of Heath the actor. I think that the documentary tends to forget why do we all love Heath. We love him because of his movies. We love him because of his art. Also, the image we get from Heath is not multidimensional. Heath was human, and, as amazing as he was, I am sure he also had many flows, like all of us, but nobody dares to mention any of them.
I.A.H.L. has a very personal touch. Heath's friends, ex-girlfriends, parents, and sisters talk about him with love and admiration, but, in my opinion, other angles are missing. I missed more directors & actors taking about Heath's art. I would have loved to see and hear Jake Gyllenhaall, Nolan, Bale, Rose Byrne, Bryan Brown, Gregor Jordan, Stiles, Gordon-Levitt, Haynes, Cornish, Rush, Gilliam, and Damon taking about Heath. Also, many of Heath's films are simply missing: Two Hands, The Sin Eater, The Brothers Grimm, Casanova, and Candy are just not there. Why? It's not that Heath made 100 films and you can easily omit 5 of them. He only made 16 films, some better than others, OK, but I definitely think that they all should have been there.
Also, I.A.H.L. does not even mention the roles Heath took in some TV series, and his uncredited appearances in some movies. Before his first big role for the big screen (Two Hands), Heath appeared in 1992 (at the age of 13) in the movie Clowning Around as an orphan clown (uncredited) and in 1993–1994 in 3 episodes of the TV series Ship to Shore as a cyclist and as an actor. In 1996 he appeared in 26 episodes of the TV series Sweat as Snowy Bowles, a gay cyclist (yes, gay!), and, in 1997, in 11 episodes of the TV series Home and Away as Scott Irwin, and small roles in Blackrock (as Toby) and in Paws (as Oberon). The documentary only mentions Roar (an American production –13 episode TV series– shot in Australia) where Heath stars as Conor (which is a quite bad series, despite Heath's smile).
And, what about Heath's death? That is mentioned only by passing. Well, we don't have to get stuck on his death, we don't have to see again those horrible photos of Heath's body covered by a black sheet carried by policemen out of his apartment that the media loved to show time and again the days after he died... but to talk a bit about his death, to through some light about his sudden end, would not have hurt, don't you agree? The only thing we can feel in the documentary is the fact that Heath was not depressed the days prior to his death, that he was full of projects and wishes, but that already was said by Terry Gilliam and others years ago.
Heath died at the age of 28 due to an accidental overdose of prescription pills –a combination of 6 different painkillers, sleeping pills and anti- anxiety pills. A real lethal cocktail indeed. Today he would be 38 years old. Although his life wasn't easy by the time of his death, Heath had a strong love for life and was full of projects. Heath suffered from insomnia. In addition, he had a strong backache and a chest infection the days prior to his death that didn't allow him to sleep. Heath had several types of pills prescribed by doctors from different countries. Although no pill taken on its own was extremely dangerous, the combination of all together proved to be lethal. He took 6 pills (which is a lot), but he didn't take 30, which is common in suicides. Heath died probably without suffering. He just stopped breathing. His death was purely accidental.
A missing figure in the documentary is the mother of Heath's daughter. That did not surprised me, because I never found Ms. Williams generous to share anything about Heath with Heath's fans (but, still, she didn't have anything nice to say about him? Weird). Not that she was more special than all the others girlfriends of Heath, but she is the mother of his daughter. Heath had many girlfriends and none lasted more than 2 years. To fall in love is not difficult. What it is difficult is to keep the love, year after year, and that was something that Heath didn't know to do or didn't want to do, because he kept having short relationships one after the other. There are two ex- girlfriends of Heath who are generous enough to talk in the documentary about Heath, which are Cauchi and Watts.
A nice thing about I.A.H.L. is that the documentary finally puts emphasis in the creative side of Heath as a photographer, video camera man, and director of video clips. Heath also created a music label called Masses Music Co. (known as The Masses) and directed several music videos.
The worst: the lack of directors and actors taking about Heath, the one-dimensional view, the missing movies and TV series, and the fact that the DVD does not have English subtitles (so deaf people are punished without being able to enjoy it). The best: the unseen footage, and the human and personal touch.
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