Pamela, A Love Story – Film Review
by Fran Winston
Directed by: Ryan White
Starring: Pamela Anderson
Streaming on Netflix January 31st
Last year’s Pam & Tommy mini series drew attention back to the infamous sex tape made by Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee and then Baywatch babe Pamela Anderson in 1995. Never intended for public consumption, it was an extremely amateur affair that was stolen and leaked. Unfortunately for them, it coincided with the birth of the world wide web and it was quickly available for anyone with an internet connection to view.
At the time, no one seemed to consider the damage it might do to Anderson. While people were salivating (and worse) over the tape she was deeply traumatised by the violation. However, even in court this was generally dismissed since she had willingly posed for Playboy and so was seen as fair game.
In this documentary, she addresses that misogyny which is just a fraction of the sexism she has encountered throughout her career. She seems to have been expected to accept things simply because of her public image as a sex bomb.
Here, she revisits her detailed diaries, which she has kept from childhood, along with home movie footage to tell her story in her words. It is a traumatic tale featuring abuse, rape and boorishness. Even after finding success on Baywatch, many male comics thought she was fair game and she was frequently the subject of crass and unacceptable jokes in the opening monologues of late night talk shows – yet another form of bullying and abuse directed towards her.
Somehow, she endured through it all and proved very resilient. She comes across as sweet and somewhat naïve in this. At heart she’s a romantic small town girl and she’s candid about her string of failed marriages and relationships (although she opens up in detail about some more than others).
She’s extremely honest about the circumstances surrounding the theft of the tape an how it affected her and she is also deeply affected by the mini series (although that show did ty and address her unfair treatment). She never made a penny from it and insists that is something she is glad about which comes across as believable.
The furore destroyed her hopes of becoming a serious actress but she has soldiered on making a career out of being a sex symbol. The documentary comes to a close with her recent triumphant turn as Roxy Hart in Chicago on Broadway – something she had never imagined for herself but she turns out to be very good at. The Pamela we leave at the end of this is no less traumatised by the events of her life but she is hopeful for the future which seems to be her most enduring and endearing quality.
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