51 years after her death Marilyn Monroe remains as well recognised and iconic as she did in her 50's and 60's heyday as the epitome of film star glamour. How well did anyone really know her though? The image and understanding of the woman we think we have remains in reality mostly an invention Monroe created by concealing a private side few got to see. There are many books and documentaries claiming to shed light on the 'real' Marilyn, and the conspiracy theories around her death rival those of her one-time lover John F. Kennedy.

Oscar nominated film maker Liz Garbus has worked with many actresses including Glenn Close and Uma Thurman in this film to try and evoke the many aspects on Monroe. She has drawn on never before seen personal papers, letters and diaries and brought them to life with contemporary icons to try and provide a new and more complete understanding of the woman, who didn't believe true love was possible and yet sought it all her life. Whether you feel she succeeds or not is unlikely to mean our obsession with Marilyn is likely to wane any time soon. The books, documentaries, films both factual and fictionalised focused on this woman outnumber the films she made in her short life, and it seems the appetite to dissect and try and understand her remains unsated.

Rather than simply employ talking heads to discuss what others wrote about Marilyn and what Marilyn wrote herself, actors give voice and emotion to the words. This is mixed with news and movie footage and interviews through the years with her contemporaries and employers. Multiple women give a voice to Monroe, which could be confusing and yet it isn't. In death as in life all the documentaries and films previously made she has still been viewed through the eyes of others, and never given her own voice or space to share her own thoughts. Garbus has managed to make a compelling film from a jigsaw or sources and styles, and people’s memories but most of all she has given a voice to one of the most recognised, least heard women in the history of Hollywood.







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