by Nicolas Pinzon
“Listen to Me Marlon” is heavy on narration. But the neat thing is that the narration comes directly from Brando’s lips and mind. Unbeknownst to most of us, the actor recorded several audiotapes for himself throughout his life, and in this new documentary, we get to listen to a selection of those tapes as we are presented with personal images and videos of both his public and private life. Through an almost meditative pace, Riley’s documentary opens a window into Marlon Brando’s sensitivity, curiosity, and vulnerability in a way that is profoundly inspiring and yet somewhat saddening. In the 95 minutes of the film, Brando, talks about his craft; about the pain and joy in acting, about the need to know your subject, your character, yourself. Brando dares us to feel, to really feel and live, and it’s beautiful, but he also reminds us that no one can escape the harsh realities of life, not even Marlon Brando. So, “Listen to Me Marlon” will probably make you smile, but it will also sadden you; and that is okay, because that is how real life is. And for a man who wanted to bring realism to movies, I think it is extremely fitting.
I could tell you every detail about this documentary and I could fill this entire blog with Brando quotes, but I believe it’s much better if you experience this one yourself before I give you too much of a preconceived notion. Ultimately, “Listen to Me Marlon” is a truly interesting documentary for the average person, and an essential watch for actors. You can find it streaming or playing on Showtime.
Did you watch it? What are your thoughts?