As Kurt Cobain’s daughter, Frances Bean was leaving the Sundance Film festival she leaned over to director Brett Morgen and said, “You made the film I wanted to see.” So much of Nirvana’s history and the tragic life of Kurt Cobain has been played out in magazines and MTV, but this film is an authorized inside view of Cobain’s life drawn directly from his family, his journals, Kurt’s artwork, and home video footage. Billed as the “most intimate rock doc ever”, it truly feels like we’re living in the Cobain home witnessing it all first-hand. The film opens with his mom and sister sharing memories of young Kurt laughing, playing music on toy instruments, and enjoying his childhood. As the story unfolds, high school bullies, family problems, and teen angst overpower Kurt and his innocence. Set to early punk rock Nirvana tracks, Kurt’s frightful artwork comes to life. If you were taking drugs and watching this film, I’m not sure you’re going to be able to sleep at night.
KURT COBAIN: Montage of Heck Trailer
Noticeably absent from the film is Dave Grohl who was on tour when the film was shot. Courtney Love plays a key role in the second half of the documentary. Courtney’s first-hand stories of Kurt and footage of the two of them falling in love and having a baby is captured beautifully in a rare video clip of Kurt singing the Beatles, “And I Love Her”. This moment of pure happiness is quickly shattered when Kurt went off on Vanity Fair magazine over their exploitation of the alleged rumor of Courtney’s use of heroin while pregnant with Frances Bean.
“AND I LOVE HER”
Watching young Frances grow up and seeing her parents laughing and playing together showed a softer side of the Cobains. It was so evident that Kurt’s love for his daughter kept him motivated to be a better man and ward off the demons inside him, but as his lyrics got more dark and personal, you could see there was trouble ahead. You can’t help but be in awe watching Kurt squeeze every ounce of anger and emotion in a song like “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” as he confronted Courtney’s infidelity rumors at the MTV Unplugged session. The film ends abruptly, just like Kurt Cobain’s short life at the age of 27. It’s not an easy film to watch but it is a powerful documentary that will stay with you long after the film credits roll.
“WHERE DID YOU SLEEP LAST NIGHT” Nirvana