The final episodes of the CNN docuseries, Reframed: Marilyn Monroe, aired on Sunday – and thanks to Scott Fortner, fans outside the US can catch up with Part 3 and Part 4 on the Marilyn Monroe Collection‘s Instagram account. I will, of course, report on future showings outside the US (and you can recap the opening instalments here.)
Once again, the show was quite well-received by fans, but there were familiar concerns that certain topics, like the formation of Marilyn’s production company and her friendship with Ella Fitzgerald, were presented in a rather slanted manner. And while her death was not overly sensationalised, other aspects of her final years – such as her career crises, tangled relationships, and struggles with depression and addiction – were largely brushed aside in favour of a more upbeat, yet not wholly convincing narrative.
Today, UK fansite Our Marilyn Monroe summed up the finale…
“Despite a refreshing attitude to the usual Marilyn Monroe narrative we are told which involves steamy affairs and murder, I do feel this documentary focuses far too much on female empowerment without delving into Marilyn’s life and overall personality. Reframed’s main focus seems to be that ‘Marilyn was a victim of men’ but with a few powerhouse moves up her sleeve … Why is it so hard just show Marilyn for what she was? Moreover, it bothers me somewhat they didn’t discuss Marilyn’s friendships and relationships in detail. It was as if Marilyn was this independent woman who relied on no one … Yes, she was strong but she also suffered and endured. I think it’s unhealthy to promote Marilyn on the opposite scale … More time should’ve been given to discuss her relationships, her feelings and to humanise Marilyn. Instead, she is once again made into a symbol, but this time, of feminist ideology. I am a feminist myself but this? This was overkill.”
Back in the US, meanwhile, April VeVea gave her verdict on the Classic Blondes blog.
“Well, it’s finally over, and I have some thoughts on this one. For those who don’t want to read long-winded paragraphs … I liked it. I didn’t care for it as much as parts 1 & 2; however, I think it brought some interesting talking points for people who might not be into Monroe … It’s a solid, if not always accurate retelling of Monroe’s life … A decent entry into the Monroe documentary world, Reframed: Marilyn Monroe doesn’t really reframe the actress as much as it takes a less sensational viewpoint. While the documentary plays it safe in a lot of parts, including avoiding discussing Monroe’s affair with Yves Montand, it’s a nice, superficial documentary that’s worth watching. Monroe buffs won’t learn anything new; however, the documentary is sure to be a feel-good, if at times frustrating, watch with rare footage and audio clips. My main complaint is the reliance on people who really don’t add to the discourse and the under-utilization of people like Michelle Morgan who could’ve contributed a more factual picture of Monroe as a person.”