What’s Worth Watching: Montage of Heck Goes Behind the Music

Kurt Cobain
Dora Handel/Courtesy of HBO
Kurt Cobain

Montage of Heck (Monday, May 4, 9/8c, HBO)

Come as you are and journey into the inner psyche of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain in this new HBO documentary. Director Brett Morgen (The Kid Stays in the Picture) worked closely with the Cobain family—including widow Courtney Love—for an all access pass into Kurt’s creative archives. His story is brought to life through home video footage of his childhood in Aberdeen, Washington, his handwritten journals, sketches, paintings and hours of audiotapes where he first dabbled in songwriting.

Cobain’s meteoric rise as the lead singer and guitarist of Nirvana led to his struggles with fame and the press, which are addressed in fascinating archival interview footage from MTV and Rolling Stone. But the most chilling aspects of the film involve Cobain’s well-documented drug use, specifically heroin. A frightening snippet of home video taken months before his suicide showcase a noticeably high Cobain struggling to hold his infant daughter while she receives a haircut. Ultimately, the documentary gives viewers a greater understanding of Cobain’s creativity outside of music and a deeper sense of the tragedy that permeated his life.