Pamela, a love story Gives Her Voice Back

Pamela Anderson in Pamela, a love story. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023.

Pamela, a love story gives Pamela Anderson a chance to tell her own story as the actress heads into the next chapter of her life.

Documentary filmmaker Ryan White is keeping busy! He was just launching Good Night Oppy in theaters and on Prime Video just a few months ago! How this documentary didn’t premiere at Sundance is beyond me. If it did, it would have been the talk of Sundance along with Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields, Judy Blume Forever, and STILL: A Michael J. Fox Movie. I guess what I’m trying to say is that we’re barely into the month of February and the year is already heavy on celebrity documentaries. Furthermore, I do want to add that Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields and Pamela, a love story will make for a complementary double feature at some point this year.

Ryan White is probably not the first filmmaker I would think of when it comes to celebrity documentaries. Sure, a few of them pop up throughout the filmmaker’s filmography. Interestingly enough, most of the celebrity subjects–when they do happen–are women. But anyway, I love what he does with this documentary. It’s substantially different from his most recent documentary, too. Anyway, without Pamela Anderson writing a draft of her memoir, this documentary might not even happen. It’s the strength of that draft that helped to make this film possible! Otherwise, Ryan White might not be directing it. But anyway, Pamela Anderson has some things in common with White’s other subjects such as adversity.

As soon as I found out that Pamela Anderson wasn’t a fan of Hulu’s Pam and Tommy, I opted against watching it. For what it’s worth, the film was in development before the series. After watching this documentary, I can certainly understand why she feels this way. Her wishes should be respected. One of her children, Brandon, did watch and went onto tell her the reasons the series gave for why the sex tape was stolen. But still, there’s something called agency and she lost it when the sex tape was stolen. All these years later, leave it to filmmaker Ryan White to give audiences an intimate documentary that humanizes Anderson. Obviously, the sex tape changed her career after it went viral but she is more than just one tape! She’s a fricking Broadway star after crushing it in Chicago!

We follow Anderson from her childhood through her time at Playboy and in her later years as an actress and sex symbol. Through it all, we get never-before-seen home videos as well as Anderson’s journal entries. Perhaps what surprises me the most is how she forgoes makeup for some of the interviews on camera. One wonders how much footage does not make it into the final cut. It runs just shy of two hours and tells plenty in that amount of time.

Pamela, a love story humanizes its subject as it lets Pamela Anderson tell her own story in a raw and honest way. She is more than just a stolen sex tape.

DIRECTOR: Ryan White
FEATURING: Pamela Anderson

Netflix released Pamela, a love story on January 31, 2023. Grade: 4.5/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.