Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Blonde - Review


Much has been made about the “highly artistic and experimental} biopic about Marilyn Monroe. From the NC-17 rating, to some questionable comments from the director, the film has been steeped in controversy since cameras started rolling. But its finally here, and there’s a lot to unpack.

From the starting days of Norma Jeane to the early demise of one of Hollywood’s biggest names, Blonde follows the winding path of its leading star through numerous moments of pain and sorrow, with only a few small glimmers of glamour peeking through the cracks. It’s a relentless look at the heartache, and hard times that seemed to follow the enigma that was Marilyn Monroe.

It’s often easy to find the good in the bad, even if the overall product resembles a mishmash of ideas and artistic risks. For Blonde, that task is a little easier said than done. Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe is spectacular, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who would deny the movie that compliment. It’s also technically well put together in terms of its cinematography and even some of the editing. 

But that’s where the compliments end.

In attempting to tell the story of how men, and Hollywood itself, continually used, abused and exploited the beauty and talent of Norma Jeane, the movie itself feels just as exploitative and, honestly, gross. It’s nearly three hours of its main character just being battered and bruised, as if director and writer Andrew Dominik believes that in the chaos, his artistic choices and messaging will come through, but it never does. 

It’s as if Andrew Dominik learned about the life of Marilyn Monroe, saw how much she suffered, and decided it wasn’t enough. Because in the end, Blonde exists not to tell the story of Norma Jeane and her rise as Marilyn, but to torture her long after she’s passed. 

This is a terribly short review, but there’s also not much else to say beyond an examining of why Dominik felt the need to make this movie in this way. And plenty of other qualified people will certainly tackle that in due time. As for whether or not you should watch Blonde when it releases on Netflix, please just skip it.

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