Blonde is a Netflix film released on September 17, 2022. It’s inspired by the bestselling novel by writer Joyce Carol Oates. It’s a reimagining of the life of Marilyn Monroe
Most importantly, Blonde has been panned for allegedly abusing and exploiting Marilyn Monroe once more, the same way many men were perceived to do during the cultural icon’s life.
The biopic drama film was directed and written by Andrew Dominik and Marilyn Monroe is played by Ana de Armas. It’s the first Netflix film to carry an NC-17 rating.
The film hammers home the message that Monroe, born Norma Jeane Mortenson, had an incredibly painful personal life not helped by Hollywood’s innate sexism. Sometimes it does this a little too well, expressed through the exploitation of Monroe in the film.
Armas gets nude a lot during the movie, gets topless several times and has to engage in a myriad of sex scenes, with herself lamenting that these would go viral and overshadow the film’s message. She was concerned that these films would become staples in adult websites and subreddits, which they did.
Some fans expressed more excitement at watching a Netflix film with this rating than anything else, while others were hyped to see Andrew Dominik act for the first time in nearly a decade.
Critics lamented that the film focuses only on the miserable parts of Norma Jeane’s life, this is more concerning taking into account how the film isn’t even a faithful biopic. The filmmakers labelled it biographical fiction, to say the least. Monroe’s intelligence was ignored, as were her progressive social views and many of her real-life personal relationships.
Blonde’s Monroe seemed more focused on her unstable relationships with men than her real-life objective of being taken seriously as an actress, especially one that could do much more than being a dumb blonde.
During Monroe’s life, she was famous for being one of the most marketable Hollywood stars for playing blonde bombshell characters. These characters relied primarily on her sex appeal, essentially dooming her only to play stereotypically dumb blonde characters.
This caused Monroe great disappointment and she was typecast and underpaid by the studio. She also struggled with addiction, mood disorders, and unstable relationships.
De Armas’ acting was riveting, and she was praised for giving it her all every time. More importantly, she captured Monroe’s struggles and spirits in the light of an overall bleak screenplay. But, at nearly three hours in length, with some incredibly disturbing (sometimes bloody) sex scenes, a lot of Ana de Armas crying, and every situation framing her as a pawn or a victim searching for a man to protect her, Blonde is dreary.