Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck

Since Kurt Cobain's death in 1994, a lot has been written about the Nirvana frontman, and a lot of unreleased songs and journal entries have been unearthed. All of that pales in comparison to the new authorized documentary (now showing on HBO), Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, which takes a (sometimes uncomfortably intimate) look through Cobain and his family's journals, home movies, photos, lyrics and audio recordings in an attempt to demythicize and humanize Cobain. In that respect, Montage of Heck works. We see Cobain as a gregarious young boy growing up in a once-bustling Aberdeen, Wash. His parents' divorce sends him into a rebellious and introverted phase where even his own family pushes him away. He discovers music and drugs, which ultimately lead him to his unexpected success with Nirvana. Through this we find Cobain to be ambitious, endlessly creative, and hypersensitive to ridicule. Toward the end of the documentary's 134 minutes, we see a skinny and scabby Cobain playing with his new daughter, Frances Bean. It's sad. Perhaps the saddest and most striking scene, however, comes when director Brett Morgen reverts back to childhood footage of Cobain, to the innocence of that smiling boy. It's something we can all relate to. But in the end, Montage of Heck has mostly given us the gory details to a story we already know too well.