Four savage takes on Blonde as‘exploitative’ Marilyn Monroe biopic gets slammed

Four savage takes on Blonde as‘exploitative’ Marilyn Monroe biopic gets slammed
BLONDE trailer

It’s one of the most hotly-anticipated films of the year, but the Marilyn Monroe biopic Blonde has already been savaged by the critics.

The film is directed by Andrew Dominik (Chopper, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) and stars Ana de Armas in the main role.

Blonde is based on the novel of the same name by Joyce Carol Oates, which is a highly fictionalised work emphasising the ways in which Marilyn was victimised across her life.

Some viewers complained about the film being “unwatchable”, thanks in part to the movie’s harrowing depiction of trauma and sexual assault.

Sign up for our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

The critics have been less than impressed, too.

In a one-star review for The Independent, Jessie Thompson wrote: “Blonde is not a bad film because it is degrading, exploitative and misogynist, even though it is all of those things. It’s bad because it’s boring, pleased with itself and doesn’t have a clue what it’s trying to say… unfortunately, Blonde is just trauma porn.”

The Los Angeles Times reviewer Justin Chang criticised the film’s direction, writing: “De Armas doesn’t get nearly enough opportunities to tap into [Monroe’s] greatness. Radiantly sympathetic in scene after scene, she delivers a strong, intensely felt performance in a movie that doesn’t begin to earn it, that insists on squeezing her sometimes eerie channeling of Monroe’s image into the puniest possible dramatic mold.

“…Blonde can be remarkably cruel, but really, it’s not all that remarkable. It won’t be the first movie, or the last, that Marilyn Monroe outlives.”

Ana de Armas leads the cast of the new Netflix movieNetflix

The New York Post reviewer Johnny Oleksinski called the film “uncomfortably exploitative.”

“There’s so much anguish, we eventually become numb to it over the nearly three-hour film. We come to know her only as a victim, not a fleshed-out person. Is that take enlightening? Meh. Entertaining? Not really. Long? Extremely,” he wrote.

“Most audiences will not enjoy this film, if they make it to the end. They’ll get the three-hour itch.”

Den of Geek reviewer David Crow wrote in his 2.5 star review: “Blonde is no more interested in being kind, or necessarily self-aware, than the legion of wolves who leer at Marilyn for nearly three hours throughout the picture…beyond de Armas’ performance, it gives very little back worthy of all that craft. It’s certainly not worthy of Marilyn.”

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.
The Conversation (0)