Anna Nicole

anna nicoleMade for the Lifetime network, this television movie attempts to shed some light on the short but active life of Vicky Lynn, better known as Anna Nicole Smith.  It attempts through its story to get us to sympathize with Anna Nicole, which turns out to be a futile endeavour.

As a young girl Vicky Lynn (Julia Walters – Trouble With the Curve) sees a star magazine and decides that is what she would like to do.  She wants to become the next Marilyn Monroe.  Raised by a single mother (Virginia Madsen – Sideways, The Haunting in Connecticut) Vicky kept her dreams.  Her dreams were a little sidetracked when she gets pregnant at a young age.  Thrown out by her boyfriend and her mother is unwilling to take her in, Vicky (Agnes Bruckner – Murder By Numbers, The Woods) has to fend for herself.  Without much of an education or skills Vicky becomes a dancer in strip bar.  She is using the money she makes to raise her young son Daniel.

One evening at the strip bar an older man in a wheelchair comes in.  He is taken by Vicky and she is nice to him.  One thing leads to another and that old man, who turns out to be oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall (Martin Landau – North by Northwest, Ed Wood), and he pursues Vicky, showering her with gifts and taking care of her and Daniel, until she finally agrees to marry him.

As she begins to make money she is noticed by a photographer and he takes some pictures of her.  Those pictures are seen by none other than Hugh Hefner and he hires Vicky to be his next Marilyn Monroe Playboy cover girl.  When the pictures of Vicky came out in Playboy she had changed her name to Anna Nicole.  These pictures are seen by the Marciano brothers and they hire Anna Nicole to be their latest Guess model.  Anna Nicole becomes one of the most successful supermodels.

Despite all her success or maybe because of it Anna develops a drinking and drug problem.  Soon she begins to follow the same dangerous path her role model Marilyn Monroe did.  Her drug use begins to jeopardize her career, which she hangs on to despite the fact that she is married to a very rich man.  Her need to be famous was deep and desperate.  Ultimately that drive becomes dangerous.

The one and only reason to sit through these 90 minutes is to take in the strong performance by Agnes Bruckner.  Though she does not really look like the real Anna Nicole (she is probably prettier) what she does do well is portray the desperate and self-destructive need of this woman to be famous.  What she cannot really do anything about is the fact that the woman she is portraying is not really sympathetic.

A lack of depth is what drags this biopic down to a lower level.  Lots of overdramatization and focusing on the superficial goes on.  No attempt at digger deeper into what drove this woman to such destructive behaviour.  It seems like the attempt to make a buck off Anna Nicole did not end with her death.  Sad.

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