Watch A Letter to True
- 1 hr 18 min
A Letter to True is a 2004 film that follows the journey of filmmaker and photographer Bruce Weber as he sets out to make a tribute film to the American Jazz singer, legend, and icon, Chet Baker. The film covers the creation of a letter that Weber pens to his friend, the filmmaker and painter, David True, as he narrates his experiences and reactions to the vibrant world of Chet Baker's life, music, and legacy. The almost poetic letter travels between different time periods, moods, and personalities while weaving through interviews, rehearsals, and live performances of Chet Baker.
Throughout the film, Weber sensitively explores the various aspects of Chet Baker's life, both the highs and the lows. From his stunning trumpet playing, his unique and spellbinding singing style, his drug addiction, his stint in prison, and finally his untimely death. The tenacity of Chet Baker's spirit as well as the sheer magnetism of his talent shine through.
Julie Christie and Marianne Faithfull also make appearances in the film, notably sharing their feelings about Chet Baker, both as an artist and as a person. They also reflect on their relationship with Weber, and some of their own experiences as actors.
The overall vibe of A Letter to True is relaxed and heartfelt, with a diligent attention to detail. Weber's love for Baker and the era he represents is palpable, and his passion for his craft shines through in each frame of the film. Even the editing of the film, with its dream-like quality, serves to evoke the timelessness of the music and the man being celebrated.
The music of Chet Baker is a significant part of the film, with Weber seamlessly blending classic performances with footage depicting his tribute band rehearsals. The director intentionally avoids a chronological approach, preferring instead to present a collage of different moments, feelings, and reflections. This creates an atmosphere that is both engaging and meditative.
The use of black and white photography is especially striking, adding a layer of nostalgia and elegance to the film. It also serves to highlight the intimate nature of the interviews and the musical performances, as if the viewer is being let in on a closely-guarded secret. The visuals at times seem to be a mirror of the music—melancholy, romantic, and ethereal.
Overall, A Letter to True is a remarkable tribute to a remarkable artist. It is an excellent introduction to Chet Baker's music for those who are not familiar with him, and a heartfelt homage for those who already love him. Weber's interpretation of Chet Baker's psyche is undoubtedly subjective, but it is also an honest and loving tribute. It is a passionate celebration of an artist and his music, set to the backdrop of his stunning photographs, and beautifully composed shots, truly a work of art.
A Letter to True is a 2004 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 18 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.4 and a MetaScore of 51.