Courtesy of Netflix

Marilyn Monroe was a big actress during her time and remains a staple pop culture icon to this day. Her life was highly publicized throughout her career and she garnered a massive amount of attention from the media. Netflix’s documentary, “The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes” follows the life and death of Marilyn Monroe. 

The documentary incorporates unheard recordings of interviews with friends and those who knew Monroe. The recordings, provided by Anthony Summers, author of the book about Monroe “Goddess,” are paired with actors lip syncing to the audio. Additionally the film includes footage and pictures of Monroe throughout her life, as well as audios from her own interviews. 

Being known as a sex bombshell, Monroe had  many scandals that the public was invested in. From her tumultuous marriages and relationships with people such as the Kennedy brothers, people were eager to learn more about her private life. Although she was portrayed as a “dumb blonde” during her time, the documentary shows how she was much more than that. It gives the audiences a more personal side of Monroe that was not considered when she was alive. 

The recordings are intriguing to follow as it has people recount what their experiences with Monroe were like. Although Monroe’s life was immensely followed by the media, there were speculations made about her private life that were constantly discussed by the public. The recordings give insight into some of those moments and how they impacted her life. Despite the easy, happy persona Monroe painted for the media, there was a lot going on behind the scenes that affected her. 

Besides seeing Monroe at the height of her career and eventual decline, the audience is able to learn about her past. Growing up as an orphan, Monroe had her deal of hardships and trauma that would later impact her life. These problems affected her relationships and her perceptions of what others thought and felt about her. Those who were interviewed help to tell what they witnessed and heard from Monroe herself. 

The documentary incorporates footage of Monroe while she was alive in public outings as well as some of her films. This highlights moments of Monroe’s life in which major changes were happening. The audience is able to see how she carried out her life despite certain personal issues such as divorce or scandals. Additionally, the audience is able to see Monroe in her acting roles and see how she lit up the big screen. It connects the audience to Monroe and sees how she was behind the cameras. Despite having a lively personality in front of the cameras, the interviewees reveal how difficult things were for her, unbeknownst to the public. The impact of Monroe’s career and life is still being shown today, especially through this documentary. It accomplishes in humanizing Monroe for everything she has been through. 

While so many were intrigued about Monroe and her life, her death brought in so many questions and speculations over what truly happened. There were questions on whether her death really was just overdose, suicide or if she was murdered. Summers discovers that some of the interviewees’ telling of her death do not line up. This leads to theories over what truly happened and what was covered up. The audience is able to gain a new perspective over all the speculation surrounding her death.

Although the documentary was meant to answer the questions surrounding Monroe’s life and death, most of the recordings and content reveal what was already public knowledge. While it is interesting to hear what they have to say about Monroe, it fails to provide the audience with anything shocking or revealing. However, the recordings and theories following Monroe’s death added more mystery into public knowledge. 

The lack of any new information following conspiracies may be disappointing, but the documentary exceeds in telling Monroe’s story. The documentary follows Monroe’s career journey from the start to the end, in which the audience is able to see how much she grew in the industry. It is fascinating for the audience who did not grow up knowing about the famous actress to learn about her story. It gives insight to what was happening, as well as how her journey started and ended. 

Verdict: “The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe” rehashes the late actress’ life and death, but fails to address anything new. It is interesting for audiences to learn more about Monroe and her scandals from friends and colleagues.