‘Anna Nicole Smith: You Don’t Know Me’ Review: Mistreated

“Anna Nicole Smith: You Don’t Know Me” new documentary The model, actress, and ’90s tabloid sensation was inspired by recent non-fiction works about obsolete stars like Britney vs. Spears and Pamela, a Love Story. It follows established trends. Half biopics, half super-clever essays on media studies, these films were meant to be a sort of pop-culture fix, acknowledging that their subjects were vilified and coldly misjudged at the time ( It deconstructs the popular image of celebrity by demonstrating (not unfairly).

The film’s director, Ursula McFarlane, combines gory archival news clips (the National Enquirer calls her a “fool” and Howard Stern mocks her weight) to create a genuine It’s trying to show Smith—born Vicky Lynn Hogan and raised in Texas. Her b-roll is moody and real crime. Interviews were also conducted with Smith’s uncle, brother and former bodyguard, as well as numerous tabloid journalists, reality TV producers and members of the paparazzi.

The interview lacks insight. We also hear that Smith “craved attention” and that he “liked being the center of attention all the time.” We find that she sometimes garners that attention in artful ways, is willing to become a superstar through her meticulously styled public image, and later gains attention despite her efforts to escape it. Collecting, I learned that I had made a huge sacrifice for my privacy and my mental health. But the solemn exhumation of Smith’s life and death – she died of a drug overdose in 2007 at the age of 39 – ultimately, despite MacFarlane’s well-meaning efforts, denounces the film. It pulls you squarely into the realm of what you’re trying to do: the realm of ludicrous voyeurism. Smith’s controversial inheritance case, her daughter’s paternity battle, her son’s tragic death. The film cannot help but sensationalize these events, even though it treats them as subjectively sad chronicles rather than eye-opening ones. Ms Smith should have been treated better than how she was treated. And she deserves more.

Anna Nicole Smith: You Don’t Know Me
Unrated. Running time: 1 hour 56 minutes. Watch it on Netflix.

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