Blonde Review

The Logline for Blonde is “Based on the bestselling novel by Joyce Carol Oates, Blonde boldly reimagines the life of Marilyn Monroe, exploring the split between her public and private selves.” While there are many facets of the movie that feel to be overly stylized, Blonde is a deep dive into what was Marilyn’s life that is not afraid to show the ugly side of it. Ana De Armas is fantastic as Marilyn but that is not enough to save the film.

The movie begins with Norma Jean as a young girl living with her abusive mother. She is told a tale that her father is a Hollywood star and will one day come for her. Norma Jean’s mother has mental issues and constantly berates or messes with Norma Jean. The mother ends up in a mental ward and here we see Norma Jean visiting her as Marilyn Monroe. He mother doesn’t recognize her and at times lashes out on her.

Blonde. Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe. Cr. Netflix © 2022

The thing with the book by Oates is that it takes liberties with the truth and uses that to give us a narrative about Monroe’s life. We go with her to auditions were she is raped. We hear the men talk about her like a piece of meat when she is auditioning for them. We see how she was not taken seriously due to her appearance. The movie really paints a sad picture of Marilyn and it is at times, hard to watch. The movie stays in this lane and rarely gives us any happy times in Marilyn’s life.

Throughout the movie we see how Marilyn is exploited by the films she works on. We see how she is constantly typecast as the sex object or dumb blonde. Marilyn was much more than that and there are moments when we see her genius. When these moments do happen, she is questioned about her thoughts. Their is a scene where she is talking with Arthur Miller about his play and at first he doesn’t believe her thoughts are her own. One he realizes that she knows what she is talking about, the attitude towards her changes and he starts to pay attention to Norma not Marilyn.

Blonde. Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe. Cr. Netflix © 2022

The art direction in this film is fantastic at key moments but for the most part it jumps from styles throughout the movie. One moment the movie is in black and white and then it goes to widescreen. Some images look like they were shot for Calvin Klein ads or that they can be images for a Vainty Fair cover shoot. The movie does have some scenes in color and then the format changes to a square aspect ratio. It feels like you are watching different movies when the format changes. It feels like the director wanted to artistic in his vision of Marilyn but could not decide on a style.

As we mentioned earlier, the film takes some liberties with Marilyn’s life. We see Marilyn’s fetus talk to her from inside the womb and there is an unsettling point of view when Marilyn is forced to get an abortion. These moments felt unnecessary and maybe they could have been handled differently or just removed from the film. All these moments do is pile on the sadness that hovered over Marilyn’s life. Throughout the film we see her trying to be happy and even when she has the love of her husbands her past traumas haunt the relationships.

Blonde is an interesting portrayal inside the life of Marilyn Monroe. There are some scenes that are magnificently shot but all the beauty does not help this movie. Ana de Armas is amazing as she embodies Marilyn and deserves all of the awards after this performance. While Blonde attempts to humanize and give us a new look into Marilyn Monroe’s life, it ends up objectifying her and the actress that is playing her.

Blonde. Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe. Cr. Netflix © 2022

Final Thoughts: Blonde is a fascinating dissection of the life of Marilyn Monroe. Ana De Armas gives a fantastic portrayal of the iconic actress and loses herself in the role. The movie shifts in styles and formats that it feels like it is trying to find its style. While Ana is the clear standout in the movie it feels like she is just being exploited like the real Marilyn. The film is a bit tough to watch at times and might not be for everyone.

Kid-Friendly: This movie is not kid-friendly. There are scenes of rape, nudity, and drug use that is not suitable for younger kids.

Violence: There is a lot of physical and mental abuse in this movie. As noted above there is a rape scene early on and a forced scene involving John F. Kennedy.

Based on the bestselling novel by Joyce Carol Oates, Blonde boldly reimagines the life of one of Hollywood’s most enduring icons, Marilyn Monroe. From her volatile childhood as Norma Jeane, through her rise to stardom and romantic entanglements, Blonde blurs the lines of fact and fiction to explore the widening split between her public and private selves. Written and directed by Andrew Dominik, the film boasts a cast led by Ana de Armas and featuring Bobby Cannavale, Adrien Brody, Julianne Nicholson, Xavier Samuel and Evan Williams.

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