“I am very old now, like a dog I always laid my catch at her feet. Now I carry it around aimlessly, the happy game disrupted. Forever.”
A telling story of a writer in his old age conveyed in truth without the requisite artistic accoutrement to burn the midnight oil of satisfaction. Rebecca Miller finds content and story without the competence to weave those two together in a work worth remembering. Which is a shame, and perhaps intentionally so, focusing on the life of Arthur Miller behind the glamour of his production and into the honesty that hides behind his work.
The film is slow and information delivering; failing in its opportunity to connect the life of Arthur Miller to the history of the 20th century he lived in a grand scale narrative that teaches a lesson worthy of the reputation. While in instances worth watching, especially in his relationship with Marilyn Monroe and the context of the Crucible within the Red Scare fiasco; in other times, it’s a painful exercise of staying awake. If you’re expecting a deep dive into his work, very few of his plays are examined in detail. If you’re expecting to be even slightly entertained, you will find no contentment in the presentation. If you expect to gain an introduction to the work of Miller and his own musings throughout his career, you may find yourself among the few who find satisfaction.
Very little can be said that would help any viewer in deciding to watch the documentary aside from the question that one must ask themselves: do you really care what Arthur Miller has to say? I sense, in the end, we are all better left to the reading of his work, than the telling of his story by his daughter.