Marilyn Monroe’s life seems like the last story that needs retelling, given the volume of books, articles and films that precedes this new documentary about her dairies and letters (as well as letters and interviews with some who knew her). And at first the conceit of film stars from Marisa Tomei to Evan Rachel Wood reading Monroe’s words seems forced. It doesn’t really work and, yet, slowly it does, miraculously so. Tomei is the best at capturing a believable Monroe in terms of innocence and insecurity. And with the vast array of archival footage director Liz Garbus presents, a parallel starts to emerge. The problems that Monroe faced in proving herself is mirrored in the difficulty the actors have in capturing Monroe’s tone when reading her diaries. It’s an unusual, highly effective way for the documentary to draw out who Monroe really was. If there’s any film to make you appreciate her allure, this is it.
Wednesday Sept. 12, 9:30 p.m., Roy Thomson Hall; Thursday Sept. 13, 12:00 p.m.,Bloor Hot Docs Cinema; Sunday Sept. 16, 9:00 a.m., Bloor Hot Docs Cinema