Sunday, December 20, 2015

Movie Review: The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe

Not so merry

By Morris Dean

Marilyn Monroe may have posed for a number of “Merry Christmas” photos, but she didn’t seem to have had many merry Christmases herself. Not to go by Lifetime’s four-hour miniseries, The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, which was based on the NY Times best seller by J. Randy Taraborrelli.
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via Wikipedia
    Miss Monroe’s mother (played by Susan Sarandon) suffered from mental illness (scizophrenia is mentioned), and her daughter is portrayed as having had a touch of it as well.
    Because of Marilyn Monroe’s iconic status and a fascinating and almost entirely believable performance by Kelli Garner, I recommend this film, however sad it made me, and might make you, too, if you care to know that all was very much not okay with Marilyn Monroe. Driven by demons of early abandonment and desperation to be loved, she reached out to her fragile mother throughout her life, although she didn’t publicize this. Hence, the title of Taraborrelli’s book and the film.
Kelli Garner was Marilyn Monroe
    Miss Garner is very good, but the gap between her achievement and our memories of the real deal only remind us how much Miss Monroe deserved her celebrity. And Miss Garner’s performance might actually be better than we think, spoiled as we are by our own, personal image of Marilyn Monroe.
    Marilyn loved and was loved by Joe DiMaggio, but he wanted to “save” her from Hollywood and take care of her, so vehemently that he hit her when she rejected the offer. As Marilyn is portrayed as having said to him after their divorce and their continuing sexual friendship, “You beat me when we were married, but you’re nice to me when we aren’t.”
    Husband Arthur Miller wanted to help her too – by writing a dramatic script (The Misfits, 1961) worthy of her talents, which Marilyn is portrayed as disliking because it was too revealing of who she really was.
    And she was befriended by President John F. Kennedy’s sister Patricia Lawford, who understood that her brother didn’t love Marilyn any more than any of the hundreds of other girls he had sex with before and after Marilyn. The film portrays Marilyn as utterly believing that Jack did love her, and suggests that her delusion may have been heightened by her mother’s illness manifesting itself in her and contributing to her death by overdose of prescription medications in August 1962, at the age of 36.


Copyright © 2015 by Morris Dean

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