JAY SEBRING: CUTTING TO THE TRUTH (2020)

Despite some contrived moments used to make the interviewees react in realistic (yet melodramatic) ways, JAY SEBRING: CUTTING TO THE TRUTH, made by hairstylist Sebring's lookalike nephew, is quite good, especially the frame-device of showing a long-lost documentary Sebring did on his trade, months before he was murdered along with Sharon Tate by The Manson Family...

The anger and bitterness by the filmmaker is understandable, but it's extremely uneven... for example, right after the murders, Time Magazine and various other outlets were basically blaming the victims, including Sebring, for the deaths, as if they were involved in the cult that murdered them... It's ridiculous but it happened... that's how the media works... however, once it was discovered a gang of crazy hippies led by the craziest of hippie killers killed everyone, all those things that the nephew is still raving mad about were long, long gone, and ever brought up again... ever, ever again... Also ironic is, no one but Manson was ever blamed, and it was Tex Watson, mentioned here only once, who shot Sebring a bunch of times before stabbing him a bunch more times...

The late Jay Sebring's childhood, his stint in the Navy, and his bold risky move to Los Angeles in the 1950's to become not a barber but a hairstylist for men (very rare in those days), is far more befitting to a documentary that's supposedly fighting against the very things it's embracing since, even the summaries highlight Charles Manson and Sharon Tate (in that order) to grab viewers... Also interesting is the post "MeToo" demonizing of Roman Polanski, who is the first person who say that Sebring was into bondage and kinky sex (before the media gets blamed for reporting the same things); there's even a theory that Tate was in the process of a divorce... and had this been made ten years ago, Roman Polanski would have been the shining star...

Overall CUTTING TO THE TRUTH is intriguing, and lets you see that Jay Sebring is more than just "the others" murdered other than eternally beautiful Sharon... Then again, there's so much embracing the pop culture mythology about Manson and the killings as well constant name-dropping (and interview selections) of famous people Sebring hung around with... the poor guy, once again, gets lost in the mix: and at his own party this time. Rates: ***1/2

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