Starring: 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, Marisa Tomei, Lili Taylor, Uma Thurman, Evan Rachel Wood, Lois Banner, George Barris, Patricia Bosworth, Sarah Churchwell, Amy Greene, Molly Haskell, Jay Kanter, Richard Meryman, Thomas Schatz, Donald Spoto.
Running Time: 107 minutes
Extras: Trailer plus interviews with writer/ director Liz Garbus.
LOVE, MARILYN charts the life of one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, Marilyn Monroe, and is based around her writings, diaries and letters which were discovered 50 years after her death in the home of her former mentor Lee Strasbourg.
This film, originally screened at the Toronto International Film Festival all of the way back in 2012, and subsequently screened on HBO in the U.S. this past summer, comes to UK DVD following a very brief theatrical release earlier this month. LOVE, MARILYN is truly unique in that it uses very original means to weave through the story of Monroe’s Hollywood career from arriving in Tinseltown, through to her tragic death. It uses traditional talking heads interview techniques from original and archive footage, but when relaying messages from the discovered Monroe letters and diaries, largely sent to her former acting teacher Lee Strasbourg, filmmaker Liz Garbus uses some of cinema’s hottest current talents to ‘perform’ the material to camera. Uma Thurman, Elizabeth Banks, Evan Rachel Wood, Lilly Tomlin, Marisa Tomei and a superb Glenn Close, relay the writings of young Monroe to camera, playing the role of the troubled, fallen Hollywood star that shined so bright during the late fifties and early sixties. In addition you have the likes of Adrien Brody, Jack Huston, F. Murray Abraham, Ellen Burstyn, Hope Davis, Viola Davis, a superb Ben Foster and Paul Giamatti, a virtually unrecognisable Stephen Lang, Lindsay Lohan, Jeremy Piven, Oliver Platt and David Strathairn channeling various figures that were involved in the life and career of Monroe.
The rather unique way of bringing Monroe’s story to the screen in documentary form takes a good while to get used to, and after putting the disc into the player and the watching the opening moments where Monroe’s writings are played out by said actors, my first reaction was to roll my eyes and reach for the remote. However, what lies within is something truly remarkable and after the first ten minutes, I was engaged until the final frames.
The film revolves firmly around Monroe’s entire Hollywood career and the private life that she had and really endured during that time. It paints a picture of a lonely, emotional person that, with all of the glitz and glamour, was deeply unhappy, despite being adored by millions.
LOVE, MARILYN is a superb piece of filmmaking, with some truly fantastic acting on display, especially from the likes of Foster, Close, Lang, Tomei and Giamatti, and this has a very fitting home on TV screens. I would urge those that are intrigued by the subject matter to seek this out on the home formats, and for those who are also an avid fan of the art of acting in general too.
It really is very, very good.