There is a breeziness to Anderson, who, despite everything, does not think of herself as a victim. She doesn’t regret marrying Tommy Lee after four days of knowing him — her account of the quick courtship is quite amusing. At a certain point, though sick of always having to talk about her breasts, she used her image for a cause she cared about: PETA. She even sat through a roast under the condition that a sizable donation be made to the organization. She is a hopeful romantic who is hard not to root for.
She has made peace with many, many things, some simply by refusing to dwell, but one thing that still stings is the tape — such a clear violation of her privacy that you wonder what sort of culture and legal system would allow it to get as out of control as it did. That a series would attempt to make entertainment out of it just reopened old wounds and traumas. Even if it was done out of some altruistic motive to reframe the recent past, for Anderson, it was another group of people making money off, what her son calls, the worst thing that’s ever happened to her.
As this documentary reminds, Anderson is still right here. She’s not some distant, deceased figure who needs to be speculated about or saved by miniseries. You can just ask her how she felt about it then, how she feels about it now: She’ll tell you.
You wonder if no one thought to ever ask her the right questions before, if we just weren’t listening carefully enough, or the wrong people were in the position to ask the questions. But I’m glad that this era of the biographical documentary is going strong, allowing for people like Anderson to correct the record themselves.
Besides, at 54 she’s moved on and has surprises yet, including a well-received Broadway run as Roxie Hart in Chicago. “Nowadays” would have been a canny choice for a closing montage for a documentary like this, but hearing it in Anderson’s perfectly imperfect voice is simply revelatory.
‘Pamela, a Love Story,’ is streaming now on Netflix.
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