By Jackie Raphael
A beautiful tribute to the amazing work and life of Heath Ledger, the film I Am Heath Ledger shares footage filmed by the Perth actor and interviews with many of those closest to him. Directors Adrian Buitenhuis and Derik Murray spoke to Ledger’s family and friends, who shared stories about his personality and creativity. He is depicted as a man who invited everyone into his home and stayed true to his Australian upbringing by maintaining friendships with people he knew since he was a young child. The film also conveys his natural talents for acting, art, photography and directing. The film does not dwell on his death, rather it celebrates his life and career. It would have been good to see interviews with people like Michelle Williams and Jake Gyllenhaal, but it is understandable why they may not have taken part. There are interviews with other big stars, such as Naomi Watts, Ben Mendelsohn and Ben Harper, who share tales of his generosity and dedication.
Ledger died on January 22, 2008 in New York. I personally still remember waking up and hearing the news. I could not believe he was gone. As a Perth local, I was particularly proud of him, but my love of his charm and talents began when I first saw him in 1997's Roar. The documentary touches on the series and chronicles his journey to fame from there. While not all the films he made are mentioned, there is insight into some of his greatest roles, including The Patriot (2000), Brokeback Mountain (2005) and of course The Dark Knight (2008). As expected, I shed a few tears, but I left the cinema feeling both sad and inspired. Ledger achieved so much in his short life and his early death should remind us to live life to the fullest.