I Am Heath Ledger tells the story of the actor’s life through the lens of his own camera, as well as through the eyes of those who knew him best.
It’d be difficult to find someone who hasn’t been affected by Heath Ledger’s work, in one way or another. Maybe he stole your heart by dancing on the bleachers in 10 Things I Hate About You. Perhaps you were amazed by his scene stealing abilities in Monster’s Ball. Surely he moved you as the romantic lead in Brokeback Mountain and captivated you with his iconic portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight.
It’s hard to believe that Heath Ledger’s acting career actually only spanned a few years, given the immense impact of his talent. When he tragically passed away in 2008, the world was shaken, knowing we had lost a legend far too soon.
With I Am Heath Ledger, Network Entertainment takes a look at the man behind the talent and, more often than not it would seem, behind the camera. The story is told through the actor’s home videos, the words of his loved ones, and clips of some of the moments that would define his career.
Check out the trailer for I Am Heath Ledger below and read on for our review of the film.
‘I Am Heath Ledger’ review
If you’re looking for a scandalous, tell-all exposé about Heath Ledger’s career, relationships, and death, you’ve come to the wrong place. I Am Heath Ledger will not feed any need that you have for gossip. What it will do, is paint a beautiful picture of a tremendously talented, warm-hearted, and creative soul.
While the film does serve to dispel a few rumors, that is far from its primary purpose. I Am Heath Ledger is not a film about Heath Ledger’s tragic death. It is, first and foremost, a celebration of a life well lived. In watching the film, you will not feel like you’re intruding into someone’s home where you’re not welcome. Rather, you will feel like you’ve been invited in by the owner and all the neighbors.
Ledger’s story begins in Perth, Australia, as does I Am. Through photos, home videos, his own footage, and the heartfelt words of his family and friends, you immediately get a sense of who this man was, at his core. Deeply creative and deeply loving, in equal measure. Where many find that their creative pursuits and their desire to spend time with those they love frequently come into conflict, Ledger seemed to have mastered the two.
That theme resonates throughout I Am Heath Ledger. Ledger kept his best childhood friends with him in his move to America. As he began achieving fame with 10 Things I Hate About You and The Patriot, he didn’t lose touch with people from his past, he just made his circle larger! He invited more people in.
It’s clear that everyone interviewed for I Am Heath Ledger had a deep connection with the actor. His parents and sisters tell us of his propensity for the theatrical in his youth, and bring us right through to when Heath became a parent, himself. His closest friends illustrate his creative, fun and warm spirit. Appearances by Ben Harper, Bon Iver and Naomi Watts lead to some unforgettable stories and moments.
In a moment where he narrates his own story, Ledger makes it clear that there was nothing he was escaping from in Perth. There was just too much outside of it that he needed to be a part of. I Am Heath Ledger immediately paints a picture of a man who had a hunger for life and who yearned to experience as much as possible.
He didn’t simply want to experience it, either. He wanted to capture it. Many of his friends and relatives recalled that it was rare to see him without a camera in his hand. As one interviewee put it, “he wanted to take it all with him.” We knew him for his work in front of a camera, but if anything, he was more comfortable behind one.
The footage taken from Ledger’s own camera is a clear highlight of I Am Heath Ledger. It’s extremely rare in a documentary of this nature to see so much from the subject’s perspective, so it’s always a treat to see something that Ledger, himself, wanted to hold on to.
This wasn’t a man who simply took videos during exciting times or of polished projects. He saw beauty and potential in everything, and captured even the most mundane of moments. The footage that we see in I Am leaves the impression that it’s only the tip of the iceberg.
His desire to experience everything also seeped into his creative life. He had no plans to stop at acting. I Am Heath Ledger takes us behind the scenes of some of his directorial efforts, as well as his record label. He had a passion and an aptitude for it all.
As we said before, I Am Heath Ledger isn’t a film about the man’s death, but it does touch on it. Ledger’s loved ones take the time to recount their feelings of disbelief and horror upon hearing the news. They also take us through the final roles of his career, dispelling the rumor that the darkness of his role as the Joker in The Dark Knight lead to his death, in some way. His loved ones recall that he was having the time of his life, playing that part.
I Am Heath Ledger does not dwell on this topic long before shifting the focus to Ledger’s legacy: his daughter, Matilda. She is not involved in the project, nor is her mother, Michelle Williams, but their presence is felt throughout due to the testimonies of the others in his life.
While of course, you’ll likely walk away from I Am Heath Ledger feeling saddened at the egregious loss that was Heath Ledger’s untimely death, you’ll also leave feeling inspired. This was a man who lived life to the fullest.
He never stopped taking in everything the world had to offer, and pouring just as much right back into it. He touched countless lives with his generous spirit and profound love. He left an impact on the world that was far greater than himself.
I Am Heath Ledger is an incredible tribute to an extraordinary man. If you’re a fan of any aspect of Heath Ledger’s career and/or life, it’s a must see!
I Am Heath Ledger will be released in limited theatres tonight, May 3. For tickets and more information visit Fathom Events.
The film will premiere on Wednesday, May 17 on Spike at 10 p.m. ET, and be released on digital/DVD from Virgil Films on May 23.