Friday, July 7, 2017

I am Heath Ledger DVD Review

Reviewed by Allie Schembra
I am Heath Ledger is a feature length documentary celebrating the life of Heath Ledger: actor, artist and icon. The documentary provides an intimate look at Heath Ledger though the lens of his own camera as he films and often performs in his own personal journey – extravagant in gesture and in action. It was his creative energy and unshakable willingness to take risks that instilled such an extraordinarily deep love and affection in the people that entered his life. Heath’s artistic nature and expression set him apart from the Hollywood mainstream, vaulted him to stardom and endeared him to the world.

Film (4 out of 5 stars)
I am Heath Ledger is an intimate look into Heath Ledger’s life, through his family, friends, colleagues, and even his own lens. The film tells the story of his life, from growing up in Perth all the way up to his death in New York. Filled with anecdotes and comments from those closest to him, I am Heath Ledger lets his fans get to know him on a more personal level.

I thought I was going to have a hard time watching this documentary. I have been a fan since the first time I saw A Knight’s Tale back when it first came out. I followed his career and have seen almost all of his movies. There are few celebrity deaths that affect me, and this was one of them. Other than watching his amazing performance as The Joker, it honestly took me a very long time to watch any of his movies again. I was afraid they would make me sad and the entertaining nature of each movie would be changed.

I enjoyed seeing his childhood friends and hearing their stories of their adventures; hearing Ben Harper tell the story of when Heath directed one of his music videos and then asked him to write a song for his daughter warmed my heart; hearing his family talk about him told me how loved he was, and still is.

Heath seemed like a really genuine and nice guy. He opened his home up to his celebrity and non-celebrity friends. He had an open door policy and Naomi Watts was one of those friends who took advantage of his kindness and stayed with him. He was attentive to those around him, always returning phone calls and text messages, and, according to friends and family, when he and Michelle Williams announced that they were having a baby, his excitement was infectious.

The only part of the documentary that made me sad was during the last few minutes, when the participants talked about his death. It was shocking to hear form his family how they found out he was gone. I feel for them all and it made me a little angry for them. It is obvious that Heath Ledger was loved and respected by everyone who knew him. He was a gifted actor and all-around good person. I hope that his daughter knows that and is proud of him. I’m happy that after all these years, his cause of death has remained an accident, and there have been no allegations (that I’ve ever heard or read in gossip magazine or on gossip websites) of anything unsavory.
Video (3 out of 5 stars)
The widescreen presentation of I am Heath Ledger was good. Most of the documentary is home movies taken by Heath, with some taken by others, but on their own cameras. It has a raw feel to it, since you are actually watching the personal videos of Heath. The interviews with his family and friends are done well with a somber background and natural colors.
Audio (3 out of 5 stars)
The audio for I am Heath Ledger was clear and all the narration and comments from his family and friends was intelligible. There is not much audio on the home movie portion, usually it’s narration over it, and it was pretty good. The parts that did have audio in the personal film was easy enough to hear and like the video, raw and unproduced.
Extras (1 1/2 out of 5 stars)
I’m not sure what I expected, but I wanted more in the way of special features. The additional stories about Heath were (of course) excellent, and learning about his foundation made me want to donate, but I guess I just wanted more.
  • Additional stories from Heath, his family, and friends (8:26) 
  • Heath Ledger Scholarship Introduction (3:01) 
Summary (3 out of 5 stars)
 I am Heath Ledger is a really good look into the life of actor Heath Ledger, filmed by Heath himself. With commentary from his family and friends, it provides a better understanding of who he was and how he lived his life. It’s not a sad documentary, though you may shed a tear at the end. It was enjoyable and not at all what I expected. I recommend it for all of his fans. 

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