Love, Marilyn – review

Marilyn Monroe in the 1953 film Niagara

The Actors' Studio is thrown wide open with Liz Garbus's puppy-eyed tribute to Marilyn Monroe. Uma Thurman, Viola Davis, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood are among the stars lining up to recreate the former Norma Jeane Mortenson's breathy tones.

Their source material is two boxes of letters, poems and diary entries found at the home of the star's acting coach and confidant Lee Strasberg. Monroe's writing is beautifully succinct, but the cast deliver it with such mannered intensity that it comes across like the worst of Monroe's performances: insecure, abstracted and ill-focused. Archive clips from friends and lovers fill in the gaps between musings.

Yet, while the devotion to the subject becomes irksome (you could remove the comma from the title to summarise the film), the gap between Norma and the alter ego she created, but struggled to control, will always fascinate.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Henry Barnes, for The Guardian on Thursday 17th October 2013 23.00 Europe/London

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images: © Cea, © Pre-1964 Movie Trailer