“I’m too sensitive,” Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain wrote in his 1994 suicide note. This helped cement the popular image of him as a doomed depressive, a far too limited view that Brett Morgen explodes with his eyes-wide-open film, which is authorized but also honest.
Making full use of Cobain’s tapes, home movies, journals and art, much of it never before released to the public, Morgen shades in the stark sketch of the grunge rocker. The multimedia mother lode left by Cobain includes homemade Super 8 horror movies and rough musical drafts of what would later become Nirvana hits.
Morgen also talks to people who really knew Cobain. These include Cobain’s mother Wendy O’Connor (“Everything really did happen for a reason,” she philosophizes), his wife and fellow rocker Courtney Love and his longtime friend and bandmate Krist Novoselic.
In so doing, Morgen teases out aspects of Cobain’s life that had been largely overlooked, in particular his intense ambition to succeed and his huge fear of humiliation if he didn’t.
A portrait emerges of a driven, wickedly funny and complicated soul who channeled personal pain to court fame, yet whose sense of guilt, shame and humiliation atop the rock summit drove him to his final desperate act.