I Am Heath Ledger: Film Review
Directors: Adrian Buitenhuis, Derik Murray
Despite a major absence of anything of former wife Michelle Williams (aside from archive footage within), doco I Am Heath Ledger seems to settle more for celebrational hagiography rather than insight dealing investigation.
Which is perfectly fine because what shines through with the documentary pulled together by the team who did I Am Chris Farley, I Am Bruce Lee is that spirit that Ledger possessed before his untimely death nearly a decade ago.
While the early stages of the piece give a bit of context of why he came to Hollywood (no major desire to run away, just was determined to try it) from his family, a lot of the film contains archive footage Ledger shot from cameras or handheld as he documented everything.
Granted, parts of the doco rely on the over-wrought hyperbole of lines like "He was bigger than the world was" and "I'm not supposed to be talking to you about this", there are some insights into how Ledger pushed himself and fought actively against the stereotyping that his fame and role in 10 Things I Hate About You brought.
It's interesting to see he was riddled with self-doubt, but willing to surround himself with a pre-Entourage entourage thanks to his open house policy for creatives and acting waifs and strays. In fact what shines through is Ledger's spirit of generosity and while it's possibly fair to say those who know a little about Ledger will know all this, but to those who had a passing interest in his acting and nothing more, it's enlightening fare.
It won't shatter many pre-conceptions about Ledger, but with the likes of Ben Mendelsohn, Naomi Watts and Ben Harper adding weight to what a good guy he was, the relatively straight I Am Heath Ledger is a celebratory trip that's worth taking, even if it does little to shake up the documentary format.