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I tried this with measured expectations. Admittedly because of preconceived assumptions, I figured it was another formulaic celebrity bio of the usual recipe. A surface skimming with one part intimacy, two parts fun and frolic, a few dashes of zaniness, and maybe some outrageousness thrown in. Just to keep us all watching. 

Val is not this. It is not formulaic. It is much more. Its real.

Certainly, one reason I was caught off guard is because I haven’t followed the news of Val Kilmer. I had no idea, or just forgot, that he battled through a very tough throat cancer a few years ago. Whether you are aware of this, or not, if you know little else, or if you have not seen this film, I am here to recommend it.

I always found Val Kilmer an interesting actor, and a person. It sounds trite to use an ordinary word, but, to go much further in describing him, is to risk painting a portrait that could distract from his profile simply as a human being. And this is entirely the point.

Val is a human being that lived, and lives, a life in a way that isn’t particularly profound. At least as compared to world changing politicians, global humanitarians, or medical pioneers. He’s an actor. Actors (at least in costume) entertain us. We follow them. We have fun with them, turn them on, turn them off, and then move on to other things in our life. 

Val has been fortunate. He was born with a matinee idol smile, grew up in privilege, and found a career he loved. He has also been slammed to the canvas with cancer. For this, as with anyone who has struggled against major health adversity and then comes out standing with their fist in the air, he deserves a look.

In full disclosure, I’m a pushover for deep thinking introspects. I know it can be a self defeating navel gaze, but in some cases, it is unavoidable, and truly the best way ahead if you haven’t come to terms with things that need resolution as you, and we age further. There really is no other way. 

Here is a film that has this presentation. It is, of course, sad. It is also elevating and inspiring in an offbeat spiritual way. Which is part of who Val is anyway. It is also very touching. Disarmingly so. If you stay with it, and let yourself connect with the voice of his son who narrates most of Val’s words against the visuals of his family, and his loves, you might even bond a little as you listen and take it all in. Either way, it doesn’t take long to see what this film is about. It really is about Val. It is deeply personal. It is deeply honest. There really is no other way.  >MB

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