Friday, September 30, 2022


Based on the fictional account of Marilyn Monroe's life by Joyce Carol Oates in the novel of the same name, Blonde makes Marilyn a victim of her own success and underdeveloped inner demons while giving us classic snapshots of her life in standard biopic fashion, although quite stylishly realized by director Andrew Dominik and cinematographer Chayse Irvin. It's a gorgeous film to look at, but to make it through nearly three hours you may be forced to turn off the sound completely. The best way I can describe it is an impeccably produced lush and vibrant music video for one of the least interesting songs you've ever heard... except it goes on for 166 minutes.

The problem with the film isn't star Ana de Armas who is terrific in the role (even with the very odd dubbing in some of her musical numbers). The problem with Blonde is that it has nothing to say, and worse still it implies quite strongly that Marilyn Monroe didn't either.

After an excruciating 17 minutes offering a glimpse into Marilyn's mother (Julianne Nicholson) teasing the troubles of Norma Jean's (Lily Fisher) childhood, the film jumps forward with the rebranded Marilyn already a household name. We continue to jump forward without a real understanding of the passage of time with Marilyn's star on the rise and the cascade of men parading to take advantage of her along the way in one way or another often in their own clumsy attempts to love her.

With little of Marilyn herself to showcase, the film instead makes its bones in recreating classic scenes, movie premieres, or even film tests and script reads in which we see other's reactions to her. We get glimpses that there might be something going on under that bleached blonde hair from time to time other than self-doubt and despair, but the movie never stops long enough to explore just who Marilyn Monroe was outside of her role as a cultural icon while far more often infantilizing her and her naivete. While Ana de Armas is terrific in her performance, this blonde isn't nearly as complex or as interesting as Marilyn Monroe.

Watch the trailer
  • Title: Blonde
  • IMDb: link

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