“Pamela, A Love Story,” is the reclamation of a story everyone thinks they know by heart. Pamela Anderson has been all over the news in the last two years, specifically. Now, she’s telling her story on her own terms. After years of being treated as an object, she’s able to tell her very human story. It’s definitely one worth paying attention to.
Right from the beginning, the documentary’s focus on Anderson’s writings and inner thoughts set the stage for an in-depth character study. We really get to know this woman on an intimate level, that feels safe and inviting. Anderson is asking the viewer to sit with her and to check any preconceived notions at the door.
The archival footage is frankly alarming. The disgust and derision talk show hosts treated her with for years deserve a documentary on its own. The entitlement that male hosts have when just speaking to Anderson is clear in every clip. Some of them even get handsy without ever touching her. It would be impressive if it weren’t incredibly gross.
With the Pam & Tommy series re-visiting the theft of Anderson’s sex tape, this is a perfect time to talk about consent. It’s so telling that the powers that be never thought that they should speak to Anderson about her perspective. This event was obviously invasive and a horrific violation of privacy. Anderson articulates so well the toll that this took on her as a human being.
Relatedly, “Pamela, A Love Story,” shows how much being in a domestic violence situation can have lasting impacts on one’s life. While she doesn’t use as many words, it’s clear from Anderson’s recollection of her marriage with Tommy Lee was incredibly chaotic. There’s still a bond there, evidently rooted in trauma. It’s hard not to feel so deeply for Anderson, who has so much love to give.
Unfortunately, there’s a downside to letting someone tell their own story on their own terms, without crucial context. There’s no deeper examination of Anderson’s affiliation with such…questionable organizations and people, including PETA, Julian Assange, and Vladimir Putin. There was a lot of opportunity to push back on this, and ask Anderson why she feels the need to continue her affiliations.
Ultimately, though, it is nice to see Pamela Anderson living her best life. The documentary is a reminder that there is absolutely no age limit on finding self-love and becoming the truest version of oneself. She is clearly fully embracing life, playing an obviously delightful Roxy from Chicago. At this point, it’s what she deserves, honestly.
“Pamela, A Love Story,” is a sweet coming-of-age story for a woman who has been deliberately misunderstood by the media for so long. This is a woman of depth, who is mostly self-reflective on her journey so far. Watching Anderson reflect on the lessons she’s learned so far is charming. Anderson still clearly has a lot of love left to give.
“Pamela, A Love Story,” is available to stream on Netflix.