Review: ‘Pamela, a love story,’ is a powerful film depicting strong women taking power back

A picture of Pamela Anderson from Netflix for her documentary. The documentary is called Pamela A Love Story.

Photo credit: Netflix. Promotional Image

Public figure Pamela Anderson is a strong women who has witnessed the highs and lows of Hollywood. Producing her own documentary, “Pamela ‘A Love Story,” Anderson finally speaks her own truth.

By Sydney Tilles, Senior Reporter

Disclaimer: “Pamela, a love story,” depicts themes surrounding abuse and molestation. The film also shows some of her photoshoots at Playboy, which contains nudity and parts of her home videos however none of the sex tapes are shown. Common Sense Media advises watchers to be ages 15+.

Despite the constant hate, misconceptions and tragedies that the media has projected onto public figure Pamela Anderson, she defied such assumptions and shared her own story. Through the combination of her family members’ voices, dairies and home videos with Tommy Lee, her first husband and the father of her kids, Anderson produced “Pamela, a love story,” a film depicting her life experiences through her very own eyes.

“Pamela, a love story,” was released Jan. 21 by director Ryan White, winner of five Critics Choice Awards. The film places the viewer into her childhood, her experiences growing up and what lead to the viral Pamela and Tommy video. This 1996 internet-breaking video shows a montage of sex tapes that were stolen from Anderson and Lee’s safe in their home by a group of robbers.

“Pamela, a love story,” begins with Anderson discussing her childhood. She was born July 1, 1967, and grew up in a lower-class family in Ladysmith, Vancouver. During her childhood, she suffered from severe trauma as she was molested by her babysitter, raped when she was 12 and her parents were abusive towards each other. Through the documentary, Anderson speaks on how these past events have impacted her outlook on life and her relationships, specifically with Tommy Lee.

When the sex tape was leaked, Anderson received a vast amount of hate and backlash from the media. In the film, she explained that since her career started at Playboy, people believed she no longer had the right to privacy.

Throughout history, women are often blamed for provocative imagery and sexual actions and ultimately are deemed as “whores” or “sluts;” however, their male partners are applauded. Anderson’s voice through this documentary highlighted the importance of a woman’s perspective, story and voice.

Anyone wondering why Anderson wanted to be in Playboy in the first place will see she wanted to take her power, freedom and sexuality back. She had a very hard life growing up and just wanted freedom. Her story suggests just because someone is in Playboy does not mean they are a slut; in Anderson’s case, Playboy was rather empowering.

The film illuminated Anderson’s resilience and bravery. No matter what she went through, she always held her head high and blocked out the hatred to focus on her family. How she responds to cruel, humiliating interviewers and paparazzi in the film is astonishing.

“Their initial attraction might be ‘oh she’s the Playboy thing’ or this kind of sexual thing, but I’m not the damsel in distress,” Anderson said in the film. “I’m not a victim. I put myself in crazy situations and survived them. As much pain as we can endure in our lives is kind of like the catalyst to all the great stuff, like poetry, music and art. I’m grateful for all the experiences I had, and I don’t blame anyone for anything. I’m glad it happened.”

After the stolen leaked tapes Comedy Central, the public encouraged Anderson to be featured on the degrading “roast” episode to respond to the incident.  However, Anderson used the media’s conniving idea to raise money for charity. She did the roast but on the condition that they had to donate $250,000 dollars to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. When the media wanted to degrade and humiliate her, she sacrificed her dignity to help the greater good. 

The film’s cinematography, editing and technical quality were outstanding. After watching my fair share of documentaries, I have noticed that the film quality and the interviews can change everything. In my opinion, this documentary went by in the blink of an eye.

It wasn’t just the story that kept me captivated, but it was the way Anderson held herself. She serves as an inspiration for all women across the world, and I hope women will be inspired to change the narrative and take back their freedom like Anderson did.

Documentary Review: Pamela 'A Love Story'
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Pamela’s ‘A Love Story was released Jan. 21, 2023, by director Ryan White, is a biographical documentary that depicts Anderson’s childhood, career, relationships and activism. Through her family’s voice, her dairies and home videos with Tommy Lee, Anderson portrays her life from her own perspective, shedding light on problems in Hollywood.