The critic’s reviews are in: they’re hating “Blonde”, a highly anticipated fictional biopic on the tragic, beloved star. But is the scathing commentary and heavy criticism called for?
By | Gabrial Pollon
Cinematically, there is a plethora of interesting, artistic and bold choices made with framing, colour, transitions and other visuals. Ana de Armas’ acting is incredible and looks so much like Marilyn it’s eerie.
But after sitting through the two hour and forty-six minute long creation of Andrew Dominic, that is the only good thing I can say about it.
“Blonde”, which has been dubbed by some viewers as a “necro-fiction” due to its exploitative and excessively sexually violent depiction of Monroe’s struggles, was under fire even before its release to Netflix on September 28th.
The main issue was its graphic, constant sexual content and nudity that seem to be more of the movie’s focus than Marilyn herself. Netflix’s executives were allegedly horrified when presented with the finished version of the film.
Its director Andrew Dominic, who has always been known as a controversial visionary due to his highly controversial other works, had a rather defensive public response:
“It’s a demanding movie. If the audience doesn’t like it, that’s the ****ing audience’s problem. It’s not running for public office… It’s an NC-17 movie about Marilyn Monroe, it’s kind of what you want, right? I want to go and see the NC-17 version of the Marilyn Monroe story.”
The question is, why should that matter?
Shouldn’t the director be more concerned about accurately portraying Monroe’s story, instead of how many times he can show her naked?
I read that disastrous interview before watching Blonde, and tried not to be put off by his rudeness and slightly concerning obsession with sexualizing his subject. After all, it couldn’t be that bad.
It was that bad.
There are more problems with the movie than I can fit in this article, but I will try my best. It started strong, but the quality of the plot seemed to nosedive with the main character’s sanity.
While you feel sympathy for Dominic’s Monroe, all she really does is cry, get abused and have “intimate relations” throughout the entire movie. In a patronizing effort to portray her as only a victim of the industry, the film, strips away her power, intelligence, personality and immense talent, until there is nothing left except a snivelling, weak, defeated shell who exists only to be used.
While I understand that Andrew Dominic and the writer who wrote the fictional biopic he based it on were attempting to reveal a side of her never seen before, it was poorly and insufferably done.
The seemingly endless and tedious cycle of soft trauma porn, jarring and random cinematic choices, victimization and empowerment of Monroe’s abusers causes a deep pit in your stomach once the credits (finally) roll.
Blonde is a leering, masochistic, dragging movie less through the eyes of the tragic star and more through the eyes of a man who exploits her character as horribly as the men in her real life.