Documentary Review: For the Love of Spock

As a long time Trekkie, I became interested in this documentary, created and produced by Adam Nimoy, shortly after Leonard Nimoy's death in 2015. Adam had already begun the project, which initially focused on the character in Star Trek that his father made famous. After Leonard passed away, his son expanded the concept to include the late actor's life as well.

Released last year, I have not been able to find a free online source for watching the 1 hour and 51 minute documentary. I was willing to rent it for a nominal fee through Amazon. While at the gorgeous Joplin Library last week, I suddenly felt an intuitive nudge to look for the DVD among their free to check out movies. In the documentaries section I found it. What joy!

This documentary full of heart takes a look at the life and career of Leonard Nimoy, focusing primarily on the role that Leonard turned into a cultural icon. Portraying the half Vulcan, half human science officer Spock, of the USS Enterprise, became a role that Leonard would embrace for 50 years.

Featuring footage of Leonard, as an actor and as a family man, and cameos by the many actors and actresses who worked with him in the Star Trek franchise, Adam's work of love does an excellent job of fleshing out who Leonard was, beyond Spock.

Although Adam and his father went through a time of estrangement, when Adam was entering young adulthood, it is evident from the film that there was a close bond between them. Leonard worked long days as an actor and at times saw little of his wife, daughter and son, however everything he did was to provide consistently for his family. The father and son later enjoyed a restored relationship that became crucial for both of them.

I appreciated learning more about Leonard's life. He starred in many movies and tv shows, before and after Star Trek, and performed on the stage. And he had an active artistic life that encompassed more than acting. He played the guitar and sang, and wrote poetry. And his love of photography became his passion later in life.


One of Leonard's photos.

Yet this talented man never ventured far from his alter ego, Spock. He reprised the role in recent years in the reboot of the Star Trek movies, under JJ Abrams, a move that delighted Leonard and his legions of fans.

I have long been one of those fans. I fell in love with the original Star Trek series as a young teen when the show entered syndication. Although I loved Captain Kirk and Dr McCoy and the rest of the main crew members, the character that most intrigued me was Spock. Being an alien, an outsider, struck a chord with so many of us who lived on the fringes too. The half Vulcan's struggle to dwell among emotional humans allowed me to see myself in fresh new ways. He was not a man who lacked emotions. He was a man who controlled them…something I strove to do as well. And yet, the moments that touched my heart most deeply were those in which Spock loosened his tight grip on control and smiled, or smirked, or called his captain and best friend by his name, Jim.

I watched this documentary with tears in my eyes and great love and appreciation for the father and the son. I learned more about Leonard and Spock. I saw that as complex as Spock was as a character, he was merely a facet of the man portraying him.

Thank you Adam Nimoy for this insightful look into such a beautiful life. You accomplished what Spock attempted. You made this gracious man more human. You shared his career and life highlights and his struggles as he won his battle with alcoholism. You showcased his many talents and let me see how much you missed your dad while he worked. You shone a bright light on my favorite Vulcan and revealed the depth of Leonard's humanity.

All this was accomplished and presented with gratitude and deep affection for your father. I add my heart felt sentiments to yours. It is all for the love of Spock…and Leonard Nimoy.

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