It’s hard to believe it’s been almost 14 years since Nirvana frontman and patron saint of teen angst Kurt Cobain’s suicide. Cobain’s rise and fall was so meteoric and brief – including his marriage to Courtney Love, their rumored drug use and their daughter’s questionable well-being – that it’s hard to get a clear picture of the man and the artist.

There has been a lot of discourse about Cobain, including the myriad conspiracy theories surrounding his death. AJ Schnack’s About a Son is perhaps the best documentary to capture the essence of the person he was rather than the legend he became.

It’s less a documentary than a multimedia accompaniment to the 25-plus hours of audio interviews conducted by Michael Azerrad for his comprehensive 1993 book, Come As You Are. The film features none of Nirvana's music, but instead opts to follow the narrative of Cobain’s life (as he tells it), showing shots of the cities he lived in, accompanied by the music that influenced his development as a songwriter.

It’s a fascinating experiment. The interviews, conducted mostly between midnight and 4 a.m., have the feel of an intimate late night chat between friends, with Cobain ruminating on the state of the family in America, rock music and his own future.

It’s a haunting, beautiful film, which leaves Cobain sounding as if he were in a more positive place than he’d ever been in his all too brief life. A year later he would commit suicide.

Grade: B+

Kurt Cobain – About a Son is currently available.