Do we need another Hollywood director to humiliate women on screen?
Ana De Armas as Marilyn Monroe
The performance of Anna De Armas is the only positive thing about this film. Despite overall negative reviews of Blonde, viewers have acknowledged Arma’s performance. Unfortunately, the character she played didn’t allow her to show more layers and really take her performance to the next level and showcase her best talent.
“Although Ana de Armas delivers a career-best performance, Blonde is a bleak and superficial portrait consumed in exploring the most painful episodes of Monroe’s life.” a review by Rene Sanchez, Cine Sin Fronteras
Is Armas performance worth The Academy Award nomination?
Many reviews by critics suggest an Oscar nomination for Armas. But what are the chances for Hollywood to participate in rewarding a film which represents its dark past? I highly doubt Armas will be nominated for anything next year. Although, viewers who delivered an 11-minute standing ovation after watching Blonde at the Venice film festival might disagree. Currently, Armas has received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in Knives Out in 2020.
What message are we sending to young girls?
The young generation who probably heard about Marilyn Monroe but never dug deeper into her life will take this film as a reality. No, this is not a documentary, it’s fiction but the name of the main character is still Marilyn Monroe. So what is the message we’re sending to young girls and aspiring female actors? If you want to be successful, you need to sleep with plenty of Harvey Weinsteins? Do female actors need to be mentally ill or just absolutely crazy to be interesting enough to get roles?
What was The actual life of Marilyn Monroe?
Marilyn Monroe, the real one, was smart enough to quickly understand the production companies were ripping her off; making huge amounts of money from her films. In 1955, she decided to start her own production company Marilyn Monroe Productions. She also signed up for countless acting classes and was taught by Lee Strasberg who brought Method Acting to the US. She worked hard on perfecting her craft and tried challenging studios on giving her more meaningful roles.
If you want to know Marilyn a bit closer from a real standpoint, I recommend watching The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe directed by Laurie Collyer.
Is Blonde a Success or Flop?
One of the producers of Blonde is Brad Pitt who helped collect a 22-million budget to film this shameless collection of threesome fantasies without a plot. A film rated for an audience 18+ years old might be just another try to attract people to Netflix. The overall rating on Rotten Tomatoes is 42% (32% audience score); IMDb rates are 5.5/10 which seems quite generous.
“Without any real depth, the ‘mature content’ ends up feeling exploitative… the numerous scenes of assault make Blonde uncomfortable to watch. (Monroe) is essentially reduced to a horror movie victim, with the abuse she suffers played for shock value.” written by James Luxford from City AM.
The film seems to be crossing every line just to get attention. It doesn’t feel like an artistic choice, it feels staged. The fundamental problem of this film is director’s ego. The definition of filmmaker’s job is to tell a story. Simple as that. There’s no need to use different aspect ratios, colours, hectic editing and uninspiring cinematography. All it does, is bringing a confusion to viewers who are then way too distracted to actually follow the story.
“Andrew Dominik’s film is one of deplorable filmmaking choices, not only on a technical level, but also one with misogynistic views exploiting both Marilyn Monroe and star Ana de Armas.” says Paul McGuire Grimes, Paul’s Trip to the Movies
According to Netflix, Blonde has generated 37 million hours watched on the platform. Giving this a little context, a high school comedy with Rebel Wilson called Senior year generated 55 million hours.
You can listen to my full review of Blonde on my podcast Girl with a Camera.