There is a hypnotic quality to Listen to Me Marlon. That stands to reason, since the documentary is a quilt of Marlon Brando’s life stitched together from hundreds of hours of his home recordings—including self-hypnosis sessions. In his final years, Brando was a parody of his former self. Fat, isolated, bizarre, there was barely a trace of the most important film actor of all time, and maybe the best, when his mood was right.
Listen to Me Marlon brings all those roles back with a fire and an autobiographer’s frankness. Brando’s personal life, all too public for his tastes, is also revealed here, from his many conquests (he fathered at least 16 children) to more painful episodes. Brando is languid throughout, and thoughtful. It’s a far cry from the easy impressions we’ve come to know, and a flawless final performance from one of the greats.