HBO Summer Documentary – LOVE, MARILYN

By Jef Dinsmore on Jun 18, 2013 to Documentaries

lovemarilyn10photo: Milton H. Greene ©2012 www.archiveimages.com/courtesy of HBO

Overview: One of the most enduring icons of 20th-century America, Marilyn Monroe invented an endlessly fascinating public persona, but also concealed a private side known only to her closest confidants. A half-century after her death, her creation still blazes brightly in the cultural imagination, while its creator remains in the shadows.

LOVE, MARILYN draws on recently discovered personal papers, diaries and letters, brought to life by an all-star cast that includes F. Murray Abraham, Elizabeth Banks, Adrien Brody, Ellen Burstyn, Glenn Close, Hope Davis, Viola Davis, Jennifer Ehle, Ben Foster, Paul Giamatti, Jack Huston, Stephen Lang, Lindsay Lohan, Janet McTeer, Jeremy Piven, Oliver Platt, David Strathairn, Lili Taylor, Uma Thurman, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood. Directed by Oscar nominee Liz Garbus, the film evokes multiple aspects of the real Marilyn – passionate, ambitious, soul-searching and vulnerable.

Key events covered include her ill-fated marriage to baseball icon Joe DiMaggio; her decision at the height of her career to enroll at the Actors Studio in New York with Lee Strasberg; the creation of her own production company; her stormy marriage to playwright Arthur Miller; the miscarriage she suffered during their relationship; battles with depression; her notorious appearance at President Kennedy’s birthday bash; and Monroe’s final weeks before her death on Aug. 5, 1962 at age 36.

lovemarilyn09photo: Milton H. Greene ©2012 www.archiveimages.com/courtesy of HBO

Expectations: I don’t really want to admit that this yet another documentary that I feel indifference about. It is not because of a lack of appreciation of Marilyn Monroe and the indelible mark she left on pop culture and cinematic history. I’m just not sure if there is anything new coming out of this work, even though what are expressed here are writings from Monroe revealed for the first time. She has been so over-analyzed over the past 50 years since her death that there almost seems like there is nothing left to say or captivate us.

However, in the news just recently a retired FBI agent talked about what he knew about her including evidence of a sexual romp with JFK caught on audiotape. Is there any mystery left to expose about this icon? I just don’t know.

Gut Reaction: The answer to my question would really be in the negative there really wasn’t any revealing statements here. Though there were some beautiful statements they all reflect thoughts and feelings we already have heard about Marilyn Monroe. These statements just hold a bit more weight of course because they are literally hers. So, at most, this is a nice tribute to the lady known as Marilyn Monroe. There was nothing stated that was scandalous or salacious. It offered philosophical ponderings and hopes & wishes from the actress that never materialized the way she dreamed them. The noted celebrities who read her words were each impassioned in their delivery. It all seemed sincerely heartfelt, which made for a nice quality to this documentary, never false or forced.

I’m not sure, since the decades passed, that Marilyn Monroe holds the allure she once had. Do the younger generations care? Cleary people old enough to have idolized her image and who remember her classic movies would enjoy this piece. Also, obviously, celebrities today remain great aficionados of her place in Hollywood fame. It was a nice, quiet, simple well-told film but anyone who wasn’t already enamored of her would get nothing from it and probably wouldn’t have watched it in the first place.

lovemarilyn16photo: Milton H. Greene ©2012 www.archiveimages.com/courtesy of HBO

 In Conclusion: Again it is a tribute piece for fans who still enjoy the mystery, mystique, allure and glamour of the very public Marilyn Monroe with her very private frailties and dreams. If that intrigues you than you love Marilyn and might also love LOVE, MARILYN.

Other airdates include: 06.20 at 9:300am; 06.23 at 11:45am; 06.25 at 2:00pm and 06.29 at 4:00pm. It can also be seen on HBO2 06.19 at 8:00pm; 06.27 at 3:45pm and 12:05am and 07.22 at 6:10pm as well as on HBOGo.


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  • Nala

    I liked the narration from Ben Foster, I found him strangely “hot”. Otherwise, an excellent documentary on Marilyn Monroe.

  • Craig

    Use of the various actors representing people of interest in her life was confusing at times and leaving out her relationship with both kennedy’s irresponsible.
    Craig R

  • http://thebrothersclegane.com/ MJ Snow

    This was nicely put together and I think big fans of Marilyn will enjoy it. I didn’t find that it offered anything new, I felt like I’d heard it all before, but it was well presented and her story is still a sad one. I’m a big fan of old Hollywood and many of the stars from Marilyn’s era, but for some reason I’ve never been captivated by Marilyn, herself. I think partly because she’s kind of everywhere, which for me, takes away a lot of the allure. And maybe partly because I prefer brunettes. ;)

  • David Pergolini

    What a fantastic documentary. In the end, her beauty was a curse. She was the constant victim of male supremacy. All she wanted to be was a great actress, a woman dedicated to her craft. What a tragedy.









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