Film Review: LISTEN TO ME, MARLON

Listen To Me, Marlon
Directed by Stevan Riley
Written by Peter Ettedgui and Steven Riley

There is very little joy in LISTEN TO ME, MARLON. Composed of audio tapes Brando made throughout his career, we are struck with how bleak his life often was. There should have been more great performances based on what his standing as an actor was. And yet we are left with ON THE WATERFRONT, A STREETCAR NAMES DESIRE, THE GODFATHER and perhaps a few more whose merits we might debate. Brando himself seems to take little pleasure in any of it. He seems pleased at the amount of money he’s offered to play Superman’s father but disgusted as well. His last films are a string of disappointments, in fact.

But his background set him up for self-loathing. His mother, he tells us, was the town drunk. His father only shows up when the laurels come in. With parenting like this, he doesn’t stand a chance of being a good father and isn’t.

But why not a better actor? Why did disillusionment set in so quickly? Of course, early sections, where he is studying with Stella Adler and making his way in New York go over best. By the midway point, when he is a bloated, swaggering mess, we are tired of him. Anxious to escape so much pain, so many tears. An interesting film, one worth seeing, but an awfully sad one.

Patti Abbott
In addition to being the Crimespree Senior Film Critic, Patti has penned numerous short stories and her debut novel, CONCRETE ANGEL, is in stores now. She hosts a look at Forgotten Books every Friday with readers, writers and reviewers at pattinase.blogspot.com. She hopes you’ll join in.

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