‘Anna Nicole Smith: You Don’t Know Me’ Assessment: Mistreated
“Anna Nicole Smith: You Don’t Know Me,” a new documentary in regards to the mannequin, actress and ’90s tabloid sensation, follows a development established by different nonfiction portraits of démodé stars launched in recent times, similar to “Britney vs Spears” and “Pamela, a Love Story.” Half biography, half supercilious media research essay, these movies are supposed to be kind of pop-cultural correctives, ones which deconstruct the favored picture of celeb by demonstrating (not unfairly) that their topics have been vilified and callously misjudged of their instances.
This film’s director, Ursula Macfarlane, tries to indicate the actual Smith — who was born Vickie Lynn Hogan and raised in Texas — by way of a mixture of merciless archival information clips (The National Enquirer calls her “dumb,” Howard Stern mocks her weight); moody, true-crime-esque B-roll; and interviews with Smith’s uncle, her brother and her former bodyguard, plus various tabloid journalists, reality-TV producers and members of the paparazzi.
The interviews are quick on insights. We hear each that Smith “craved consideration” and “all the time appreciated being the focal point.” We study that she typically acquired that focus in savvy methods, prepared herself to superstardom by way of a public picture she meticulously styled, and later attracted consideration regardless of efforts to flee it, at nice value to her privateness and psychological well being. But the solemn excavation of Smith’s life and dying — she died at 39 of a drug overdose, in 2007 — finally brings the film, regardless of Macfarlane’s well-meaning efforts, squarely into the territory of what it’s making an attempt to sentence: lurid voyeurism. Smith’s contentious inheritance case, the disputed paternity of her daughter, the tragic dying of her son: The film can’t assist however sensationalize these occasions, though it relates them in a self-consciously plaintive register reasonably than a gawking one. Smith deserved higher than how she was handled. And she deserves higher than this.
Anna Nicole Smith: You Don’t Know Me
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 56 minutes. Watch on Netflix.