As Marilyn Monroe said in one of her last interviews, “Please don’t make me a joke.” Now, 60 years since her tragic passing, Monroe’s wishes were tarnished, as Andrew Dominik’s “Blonde” damaged a legacy she built for herself.
“Blonde” is Netflix’s first NC-17 film, which consists of Norma Jean Baker, with the on-screen alias of Marilyn Monroe, going through one traumatic experience after another up until her untimely death. It is important to establish that this isn’t a biopic, as it is based on Joyce Carol Oates' novel of the same name, though the director has stated that there is a loose connection between pieces. The fact that its content is not exactly true and solely fictionalized damages Monroe’s appearance to a great extent. If Monroe were still alive today, she would be extremely disappointed about the spectacle they portrayed her as in this film.
It’s a rather unsettling film, from start to finish, as the NC-17 rating is to be taken into heavy consideration before one stream sit. There are instances of rape, near-death experiences, abortions, and the list goes on and on. A lot of these horrendous experiences never happened, with no reasonable intention as to why they were placed in the film to begin with.
Though there’s no doubt that Ana de Armas portrays the ambitious blonde extremely well, it’s overshadowed by the horrendous narrative that she has to act alongside of. Her portrayal is one of the finest of all Monroe portrayals, even if it gets undermined by the film’s absurdity. It’s not doubtable that she might get potential buzz for upcoming awards, though no other awards or nominations ought to be given out to the film for any other reason than de Armas' performance.
The film takes Monroe’s “sex symbol” title a bit too seriously, as sex scenes are constantly woven in, one after the other. Inserting the camera inside Monroe’s feminine parts was the most over-the-top thing this film could have done and they did it twice. It becomes obvious that the film is targeted toward men, which means that all the female progression the film industry has been through throughout the last 60 years was for nothing.
The narrative fails to really hone in on who Monroe actually was as a movie star, or truthfully, a human being. The film is constantly taking stabs at all the horrible, fictional things that Monroe had been through instead of celebrating the amazing accomplishments that should be worth noting in a movie regarding the star. There was not even a mention of her receiving a Golden Globe for her performance in “Some Like It Hot.” This beguiling type of exploitation makes it so much harder to sit through, especially when there is a scene of a talking fetus inside Norma Jean’s womb, shaming her for getting an abortion. Monroe plays the victim the entire film, not a movie star, not the inspiring, intelligent woman that she was.
Instead of focusing on Monroe’s actual character and morality, “Blonde” focuses so much of its time on being artistic. Switching from black-and-white to color, playing with cinematography, etc, there are so many visual choices that are extremely questionable as it just makes the film look incredibly tacky. Even the fact that they went as far as to film scenes in the exact spots in which Monroe lived and died was distinctly unnecessary. The film has no direction, it just wants to be an artsy film so badly that it distracts itself from having a real coherent message.
It runs on for a very long time, almost 3 hours, to which there comes a point where it’s exceedingly hard to watch its entirety. There is no clear reason why a large audience of Monroe fans should watch her get derailed by other people continuously for three hours.
Several internet users, significantly women, have expressed their disliking for the film, encouraging others to boycott the movie in respect of Monroe and what’s left of her legacy. To fully understand her true story, one should read Monroe’s memoir, “My Story”, which is a recollection written by herself.
While it is normal for biopics to be made for several different icons and figures, “Blonde” is the exact definition of what not to do. That being, disgracing Monroe’s name entirely, dramatizing and fictionalizing most of its content, and completely disregarding her actual talent and achievements. Despite Monroe being truly a blonde ambition, this “Blonde” film lacks that ambition entirely.