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By Brad Wilke | December 24, 2008

“Larry Flynt: The Right to Be Left Alone”, directed by Joan Brooker-Mark, is a slapdash piece of filmmaking that doesn’t do justice to its subject. Without a coherent throughline (it jumps from one controversy to the next; one subject to another), it plays more like a series of YouTube videos than a true documentary film.

Covering the entirety of Flynt’s life, with a focus on the more controversial episodes, the film starts strong with Flynt reminiscing at an ACLU forum about his ongoing battle for First Amendment rights. Following that, though, it quickly devolves into a well-intentioned hodgepodge of archival clips, interviews, and one particularly awkward present day Hustler editorial meeting.

Mostly, this film serves as a platform for Larry Flynt to have the last word on his colorful career. Standing behind some of his actions while questioning others, Flynt acts as the editor (or ghost writer?) of his own public record. Without hearing much from the other side of the cultural divide (or even a broader swath of those involved with Flynt throughout his career), we are treated to a mildly entertaining hagiography and not much more.

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