‘Pamela, A Love Story’ documentary review: Pamela Anderson’s affable account of her life

The actor candidly talks about her infamous sex tape, romantic relationships and fighting misogyny in Ryan White’s latest documentary

Updated - February 17, 2023 01:49 pm IST

Published - February 17, 2023 01:02 pm IST

Pamela Anderson in a still from ‘Pamela, A Love Story’

Pamela Anderson in a still from ‘Pamela, A Love Story’ | Photo Credit: Netflix

C.J. Parker in a swimsuit running in slow-motion on a beach in Baywatch — everyone has either seen, heard or talked about this pop culture moment that gets referenced with excitement, mockery, glee and disgust, even after two decades. Movies and shows have either paid homage to or invoked the action to raise eyebrows and grab eyeballs. However, the person behind the actor has remained under covers until recently.

Directed by Ryan White, Pamela, A Love Story gives agency to Pamela Anderson to wield agency over how her life’s story is told in the media.

Pamela, A Love Story (English)
Director: Ryan White
Cast: Pamela Anderson, Brandon Thomas Lee, Dylan Jagger Lee
Runtime: 114 minutes
Storyline: In her own words, through diaries and video-tapes, Pamela Anderson shares the story of her rise to fame.

Last year, an eight-episode-long Hulu original titled Tom & Pammyattempted to narrate the actor’s relationship with Thomas “Tommy” Lee Bass, a musician and the founding member of Mötley Crüe, and the events following the leak of the couple’s infamous sex tape. The show that fashions itself as a dark comedy glossed over the spousal abuse Anderson suffered at the hands of Lee and portrayed the drummer as a loveable rogue. This 114-minute-long documentary feels like her response to it.

Dressed in a white robe and messy hair sans make-up, sitting in her lakeside property in Canada, the actor traces her way all the way back to the country she was born in. From being accidentally discovered by Playboy to becoming the sex symbol of an entire generation, the actor candidly talks about breast implants, her love for love, and the tumultuous relationships she had in her life.

Through diaries and video tapes with occasional commentary from her sons, she talks about being abused as a kid, battling misogyny from liberals and conservatives alike and her many marriages. The actor presents herself as an open book. She is honest and unapologetic.

There are incidents that the actor does not touch upon — like her 12-day marriage to Jon Peters — but that will not give the audience anything to complain about as it ends up painting an almost complete picture of the actor.

The documentary feels very rushed towards the very end — the portrayal of her friendship with Julian Assange and her activism with PETA fail to integrate with ease with the rest of the documentary and make it lose its poetic and romantic sentiments about the actor.

Finally, we see Pamela working on and performing the role of Roxie Hart in ‘Chicago’ on Broadway. Her performance receives critical praise and people’s love — the actor says she is finally doing something for herself and promises that there will be no more men with a sly laugh. After decades of working for others, Pamela seems to have found a footing to explore her own sense of self.

Pamela, A Love Story is currently streaming on Netflix.

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