Kurt and Courtney
directed by Nick Broomfield
Starring Courtney Love and several grungy cronies
You can think Courtney Love is manipulative, intelligent, brilliant, angry, bitter, wild, out of control, changed, or a million other things. You can think Kurt loved her, or that he didn’t, or that he was psycho, or he wasn’t, or a million other things.
Unfortunately, Kurt and Courtney, Nick Broomfield’s latest pseudo-conspiratorial cinematic offering, tells you nothing you probably didn’t already know about the First Family of Grunge. You’ll find yourself vaguely uninterested — well, except for bursts of laughter directed at the poseurs and relatives who claim to have pictures of everyone important doing everything bad, the “best friends” who are so fucked up they’d be unlikely to know their own names, and the conspiracy theorists shilling themselves in a sad attempt to make a few more precious dollars off a dead story.
Broomfield enlightens us with such gossipy tidbits as:
1) Courtney has a short temper and often threatens people, including her friends.
2) Kurt and Courtney, together and apart, did a lot of drugs.
3) Courtney has problems with her family.
4) After Kurt died, Courtney had plastic surgery, learned to apply eyeliner, and now relies on a protective layer of attorneys and publicists to protect herself from the pressures that drove her husband to suicide.
5) Kurt Cobain is dead.
This is news? No wonder Broomfield’s financial backers abandon him mid-film. No wonder Courtney denied him use of Nirvana’s songs. No wonder everyone who says they have dirt never materialize.
The main problem with Kurt and Courtney is that there is no story other than the one plain to anyone with ounce of common sense. He was crazy. He was on drugs. He killed himself. He would have done those things with or without her. If anything, she and Frances kept him alive for a little while longer. End of story.
The only worthwhile person in the film is Kurt’s Aunt Mary: a musician herself, who had been recording Kurt’s voice since he was two years old. Even at that young age, his distorted, childish shrieks will send chills up your spine. Mary seems to be the only person who cares about keeping his true message intact, as she reminisces fondly about his garage band days, Christmases, first recording sessions. Today, through Kurt’s songs and poetry, Mary goes into schools and teaches the next generation about addiction, mental illness, and the fine line between self-expression and self-destruction.
Meanwhile, Courtney sips martinis at the Beverly Hills Hotel with Madonna.
All apologies, Kurt. All apologies.