As if Marilyn Monroe’s life wasn’t already exploited enough during her lifetime, here is another film in 2022 that falls back into misogynistic ideas.
There are plenty of films that go for “style over substance” and are good at it. ‘Blonde’ is definitely not one of them. Everything, from the writing, and pacing, to the dialogue, and the directing, is abhorrent. The movie exploits Marilyn Monroe’s legacy and turns her into a pure object with no substance. Sounds familiar? That’s what everyone in the media did during her short life as well, so in that sense not much has changed over the last century.
The audience may get the wrong idea after watching ‘Blonde’. Be sure to know that this is most definitely not Marilyn Monroe’s life at all. This fictionalized take on her life jumps from her difficult childhood to her starring in certain films, personal relationships, and trauma until her early death. Not one part of it is well done in the writing department though.
The “shock value” element of the film is so obviously coming from the imagination of deeply misogynistic concepts. By the end, the audience learns nothing new about Norma Jeane as a person. Her turn into Marilyn Monroe is not written up to par. Everything adds up little by little and perhaps the worst part of it, the pacing is so slow that you have to fight to keep yourself awake after an hour. Oh, by the way, the film is 166 minutes long in total. Good luck with that.
Some of the very few good things about ‘Blonde’ are the set designs and the main performance of Ana de Armas. The constant shifting of the frame, and going from black and white to color might look cool to some people, depending on your personality. That is to say that there are basically zero narrative reasons for it, the director perhaps just thought it would look cool.
‘Blonde’ also struggles from a need to play towards the male gaze. Another perplexing thing regarding the director Andrew Dominik is that he seems to personally have a vendetta against Marilyn’s work and personhood. He’s commented plenty of times about how he doesn’t respect Marilyn’s work which makes it so strange that he even chose to direct a film about her at all. Suppose when there’s money involved anyone is willing to exploit legendary legacies and defile a person’s life work for a Netflix film that is a boring slugfest nonetheless.
The Response to Blonde
Marilyn felt reduced to an object for most of her adult life in the limelight, yet, the film fails to recognize that and does the exact mistake once again. Critics have also seen through the pretty veil of ‘Blonde’ and most of the reviews have been either mixed or rightfully flat-out negative. Everyone has been calling out the exploitative portions of the long runtime, even those who actually somehow enjoyed the film.
There’s been a lot of talk about this film recently, though it’s important to note that after some time most people will only remember ‘Blonde’ as an exploitative waste of time. The constant victimization of Marilyn from a writing perspective is disgusting, to say the least. $22 million were spent on a film that’s been only made to generate articles.
If Hollywood actually offered work opportunities based on success, Andrew Dominik would never be allowed to work on another film in his lifetime. It would unfortunately seem though that only women are graded based on critical reception, as male directors such as Dominik get to make one awful biopic and just move on with their millions to the next horrid project.
If you want to torture yourself for nearly three hours, you can find the film now streaming on Netflix.
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