By William Wolf


I was on a Greek island when the stunning news of Marilyn Monroe’s death arrived in the form of newspaper headlines. It was a shock and terribly sad, for Monroe had endeared herself to filmgoers the world over. With the passage of time she has emerged as an icon, with reams and reams being written about her life in all its contradictions. Her films live, and so do the many impressions of her that have been explored ad infinitum. Liz Garbus’s film “Love, Marilyn” is the latest attempt to define who she was.

What is your personal impression of Marilyn Monroe? Sex symbol? Repressed intellectual? Fine actress? An emotional shambles as a result of her family history? A charming woman? A victim of exploitation? A woman who met a mysterious death? Someone who slept around? All of the those?

Garbus, by putting together the impressions of others together with a raft of clips and images, explores the many-sided aspects of Monroe. It is a tall order, but she has done it by enlisting a barrage of stars to provide voices to Marilyn. By having access to diaries and letters hitherto undisclosed, Garbus is able to search for answers to Monroe’s life, and for accurate insights into her complexity.

The overall effect is to make one realize once again Monroe’s beauty and how hard she had to struggle to get through life despite her international fame. Her fragility comes through, but so do her strengths. You will certainly get to feel that you know her better. And as all good biographical works, this one also sheds light on the world in which Monroe navigated.


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