Marilyn Monroe was and is arguably one of the most beautiful women to grace the silver screen. Her sexual prowess and appeal are legendary with many attempting to emulate and imitate what made her star power unmatched. Many projects have been done over the decades ranging from “Me and Marilyn” to “Norma Jean & Marilyn” delving into the mysterious background of this legend and now we have Blonde via Netflix.
Adapted from the 2000 novel of the same name by Joyce Carol Oates, Blonde is a 2022 American historical psychological drama film written and directed by Andrew Dominik fictionalizing the life of American actress Marilyn Monroe played by Ana de Armas.
Here’s the good news…
Ana de Armas is so convincing as Marilyn one would swear they were watching the real thing. Her performance as the tortured, misunderstood, misused movie star is astounding and eery all at once. What is demanded of her is unconcionable mentally and physically, yet she pulls it off without a hitch.
Having said that, the fascination with reinventing Monroe ad nausea has become quite cumbersome and this particular project is nothing short of soft porn. With scenes literally showing the icon giving blow jobs and being naked for a good majority of the film, I was left simultaneously disappointed, disgusted and angry.
As a woman, I was saddened that her legacy has been reduced to no more than a piece of raw meat distorted in cinema any way – any male seems fit to in order to fulfill their own sexual fantasies surrounding the legend.
Was is Andrew Dominik’s intention to offend? Of course not. After all, he used Oates’ book as the bible for his screenplay and not having read the book, I’m sure he believes this film provides an auteur image explored in depth from a completely unique vantage point. However, that is not enough for me to champion this film beyond the stunning performance by Ana de Armas.
Having said that, what is super cool about the film is how the original footage from classic performances in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Niagara, Some Like it Hot and Seven Year Itch really give Ana de Armas an opportunity to inhabit and showcase the Marilyn Monroe we have grown to love. Even though we have seen this trick previously in past projects like “Forest Gump.”
The production design, costumes, hair and makeup is perfection and captures that classic Hollywood style right down the smallest detail and all of these designers should be lauded and applauded for their work which include Florencia Martin, Erin Fite, Jennifer Johnson, Jaime Lee McIntosh and Tina Roesler Kerwin to name a few.
Clocking in at nearly three hours, it goes without saying that a good 45 minutes could have been omitted to tighten things up a bit. For me, Blonde is a disrespectful, dishonorable blemish on the legacy of woman who has suffered enough. It’s time to finally let her rest in peace with a little bit of dignity.