Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love


Biography / Documentary / Music

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 79%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 85%
IMDb Rating 7 10 1777

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Uploaded By: FREEMAN
November 02, 2021 at 06:17 PM


897.67 MB
English 2.0
25 fps
1 hr 37 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Horst_In_Translation 10 / 10

I am a huge Leonard Cohen fan and I loved it for the most part

"Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love" is an American mostly English-language documentary from 2019 and in the title you can already read that the focus here is mostly on Canadian singer Leonard Cohen. But first things first: The director is London-born Nick Broomfield and looking at his body of work and how it was appreciated here on imdb, it seems to me that well I do not want to say there is a circle of haters, but definitely a large group of people, who apparently are not too fond of his style and approach to filmmaking. i do not exactly know what their problem is. Or if I even second this idea because I just haven't seen enough from him. But I heard about the Whitney Houston documentary from not too long ago for sure. I think Broomfield has a tendency to be a part of his films more than other documentary filmmakers, sometimes only as narrator, sometimes even in front of the camera. Anyway, here we also hear him partially narrate and his voice has great recognition value and sticks out and you know it is him. Which may not be too perfect for the subject if it takes attention away there, but it is also not a bad voice by any means, so for me it wasn't a problem here, especially because we also have many other narrators. And this also includes audio recordings from the two in the title. Or just people who had a (close) connection to either Leonard or Marianne.

Now lets focus on the contents of the film. First, however, I want to say a few words about myself. I really adore Leonard Cohen's music and he is one of my top3 favorite musicians ever. Saw him live several times here in Berlin and I am so happy I got the chance to do so. So I was of course very curious about these approximately 100 minutes. And I would say they got better and better the longer they go. The first half/hour is okay, nothing too outstanding, but interesting nonetheless and easy to appreciate for a Cohen fan like myself. I also liked that I still learned many new things about him in here. For example I had no idea drugs (LSD) were such a common occurence for him that he permanently took them. Or also how much of a womanizer he was as we find out through the anecdote how the next woman was already waiting when one left his company. And a lot more than was new to me despite how much I know about him. For example the video where he is about to discontinue the concert because he wasn't feeling it and tells the audience I have seen on Youtube before too, but I did not know that he shaved his beard during the break he took before continuing. Now that was extraordinary. So much for Leonard right now. A few words on Marianne of course too. You hopefully know the song he recorded for her and if not, then you definitely should check it out. We find out a lot about the relationship between the two and how she impacted Cohen's life during his days on Hydra mostly. We hear about how she is joking that the song is not about her or we also hear how Hydra can be a really difficult place for many, which for example also includes her son who led a very troubling life altogether or this family of artists who all died quickly after leaving Hydra. Kinda shocking stuff. So the film is not only about the relationship between the two in the title, but all the rest we find out also has directly to do with them really.

So yeah at the end it is just super touching and personal for me and my eyes got wet pretty quickly when I heard him say at the microphone in London that he has not been there for a while. Or also when we find out how Marianne got tickets in the front row for Leonard's concert in Oslo. Or of course everything really about the letter. I will definitely not go into detail here because I really don't want to spoiler anything, but I found it incredibly moving and I also like how they lead us there by mentioning said letter at the very beginning of the documentary, so eventually the circle closes here. It is very tough for me to find anything I did not like about the film as I think it was competently executed from beginning to end and is really informative and also delivers in terms of heart how I explained earlier. I have to dig deep. Maybe one thing is how Suzanne is included, which I found a bit disrespectful the way they describe her, but maybe that is just me. I mean Leonard still has love for his agent who cost him millions of dollars, so I am sure he would not be too happy about the depreciatory way how we find out about Suzanne. Or actually find out almost nothing about her. This could have been handled better. Or just exclude her completely, but in the end, she is vaguely in the same spot like Marianne Ihlen, namely a woman who had a big enough impact on Cohen's life to write a song about her. Anyway, back to the agent I just mentioned. Even with what she did, I guess Leonard Cohen fans can be happy she lost him all that money because otherwise he never would have gone on tour again and it seemed as if he really liked it. I know he made me happy and otherwise I never would have seen him live, which would have been super sad for me. Oh yeah, another aspect: The monastery life for Cohen is also something I was not aware of. Or how really Leonard died only months after Marianne. May they rest in peace both of them and their legacy will be with me forever. Thank you for the music. A top movie for me, so I give it a perfect rating, but also for non-Cohen fans it is a good watch I think. Maybe the great use of music that still gets me goosebumps will turn them into fans, so maybe from a really neutral perspective 4 stars out of 5 is accurate. In any case, a huge recommendation from me here. Thanks for making this movie Mr. Broomfield and getting Mr. Cohen back into all our lives. His art makes me happy.

Reviewed by paul2001sw-1 7 / 10

The Gods are granted forgiveness

In the 1960s, the Canadian writer (and later famous songwriter) Leonard Cohen hung out in a Bohemian community on the Greek island of Hydra. He formed a relationship with a woman, Marianne, who subsequently featured in some of his songs; in the way of the time, Marianne also had a brief fling with a young man called Nick Broomfield. Broomfield is now a celebrated maker of documentary films; and his latest, 'Marianne and Leonard', tells the story of the lifetime connection between his former lover and the artist she inspired, made after both of them recently died. What's interesting in the film is a tension that Broomfield seems to avoid addressing directly: that on one hand, Cohen comes across as a sensitive and profound thinker; on the other hand, also as a spoiled, pretentious individual who took whatever his talents enabled him to take without real regard for other people. A succession of acquaintances vouch for him, saying that you just couldn't expect Leonard to make the same commitments (and, where necessary, sacrifices) that you might of others. He may have maintained a lifelong friendship with Marianne (who eventually went home to Norway and adopted a suburban life), but only on his terms; for sure he liked her, but it's unclear that he ever actually did anything for her which in any way conflicted with his own interests, and it's strange to watch a film where everyone seems to pre-emptively forgive his behaviour. Broomfield's documentary is at its best when it tries to convey the wider milieu, of which Broomfield himself was part, than when it is genuflecting to St. Leonard and his muse, who by contrast appears to have been a genuinely lovely person, but perhaps not a particularly interesting one. Today, Broomfield says, Hydra is a millionaire's playground. But he paints an interesting picture of a time when it was something else.

Reviewed by paul-allaer 7 / 10

So long, Marianne (& Leonard)

"Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love" (2019 release; 102 min.) is a documentary about the (in)famous relationship between singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen and Norwegian muse Marianne Ihlen. As the movie opens, we are "July 28, 2016" and the BBC informs us that Marianne has passed away. We then go to the "1970 Isle of Wright" festival, where Cohen asks the massive crowd "Marianne, are you there? Where are you, Marianne?" We then go to the early 60s in Hydra, Greece, where Marianne was living and Leonard, a struggling writer, has just arrived, and they meet by chance.... At this point we are 10 min. into the documentary.

Couple of comments: this is the latest documentary from director Nick Broomfield, best known for his "Kurt & Courtney" documentary in the late 90s. Here he delves into the long relationship between Leonard Cohen and Marianne Ihlen, who became Leonard's lover and muse. As a life-long fan of Leonard Cohen, I knew of Marianne vaguely (of course through the song "So Long, Marianne") and knew of their relationship but really nothing more than that. So this documentary was quite revealing in many ways. I was amazed at all of the archive footage that was unearthed from the 60s and 70s that paint such a vivid picture of that era (including footage from Broomfield himself and from D.A. Pennebaker, among others). We hear from Marianne (mostly through Norwegian interviews) and Leonard themselves extensively, but others comment as well (check out Judy Collins and, even better, the extensive comments from Ron Cornelius, Cohen's band mate who sounds remarkably like Bill Clinton). Please note: this is NOT a bio-documentary of Leonard Cohen. Hence, while there are some music and performance clips, they are clearly secondary only. The focus of the film is the long and complicated relationship/friendship between Marianne and Leonard. The last 10 min. of the film are a true emotional gut punch (as we know all along that these two passed away just months apart in 2016).

"Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love" opened out of the blue this weekend at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati, and I immediately just had to go see it. The Friday early evening screening where I saw this at was not attended well (exactly 5 people in total). I have no idea how an "average" viewer might watch this documentary, but as a life-long fan of Cohen, I thought this documentary was just lovely from start to finish. (I saw Cohen in concert only 1 time, at the 2009 Coachella music fest, and what an unforgettable set that was.) If you are a Leonard Cohen fan and always have been curious about that mysterious Marianne from "So Lone, Marianne", I'd readily suggest you check this out, be it in the theater, on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.

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