Blonde certainly was among the most talked about films in 2022. After seeing the trailer I already had my doubts that this would be good, but naturally, I couldn’t resist and just had to check it out!
The Plot (according to Rotten Tomatoes):
Based on the bestselling novel by Joyce Carol Oates, Blonde boldly reimagines the life of one of Hollywood’s most enduring icons, Marilyn Monroe. From her volatile childhood as Norma Jeane, through her rise to stardom and romantic entanglements, Blonde blurs the lines of fact and fiction to explore the widening split between her public and private selves.
What on earth was this movie?
Bad. That’s what it was. I rarely say this but honestly, don’t waste your time. There’s pretty much nothing good I have to say about Blonde.
Let’s start with Ana de Armas. She’s a wonderful actress and she really nailed the Marilyn look but her accent just was not it. I don’t care how long she might have spent working on it but you can simply tell that she’s not getting it right. In fact, it’s not even that she’s a little off. There are many instances in the movie where you can clearly hear Ana de Armas’ Cuban accent and I think we can all agree that that’s not what Marilyn sounded like. That already annoyed me to no end but it’s only a small part of what ruined this film for me.
While I might have been able to tolerate the accent to some degree, what I can’t overlook is the more than terrible writing. This movie is nothing but misery porn. It paints Marilyn Monroe as nothing but a series of tragedies, there’s pretty much no moment of happiness in the film. While I could accept it if they were trying to make an accurate depiction of her life and it really was this tragic, so many parts of it feel weird and oddly exaggerated if not fabricated. Maybe they are being faithful to what actually transpired, I have no way of knowing that. But if that is the case they sure did a shit job.
Throughout the film you get the clear impression that Marilyn struggled with never being perceived as who she is and then this movie sweeps in and instead of giving her more agency, somehow we only ever keep witnessing her through others or in relation to them. Even in a film titled Blonde, a film about Marilyn herself, she feels more like a plot device and object to connect other people the movie wants to feature than a real person, the one we should be focusing on here. It becomes quite evident when it comes to how she struggled with being perceived as a sex symbol. I’m sure this is an integral part of telling her story. Then somebody please tell me why on earth we get close-up shots of her naked breasts approximately every ten minutes. Not once or twice throughout the movie, but constantly. For no reason whatsoever. Literally, there is no explanation I could come up with as to why she had to be naked in all those scenes. Was it to show that struggle? Her vulnerability? Again, if that was the case, this movie that a shit job of conveying that. It just feels voyeuristic and unnecessary and annoying. Especially as it’s a contrast to what Marilyn is talking about in several instances.
On top of that, we get a ton of rather questionable stylistic choices. Quite often the camera frame changes ratio, or the image goes black and white, or we suddenly see through Marilyn’s eyes and the camera becomes wobbly. See, all these things might be intriguing if they had been used with any semblance of rhyme or reason. As it is, it seems completely random as to when we’d get such a shot, which made it nothing but irritating. And don’t even get me started talking about the shots of embryos in Marilyn that talk to her. I mean seriously! That was not something I had on my bingo card when I started watching this movie, in fact, that would not have been on my bingo card for literally any movie.
There were also some minor details that bothered me. Like for example Marilyn calling all her husbands daddy. Please tell me that was not a real thing? Especially because as the movie never ceases to remind us she had some serious daddy issues. It irked me so much because there is a scene where she expects to meet her father, but it’s her first husband proposing to her. She accepts and then keeps calling him daddy. Nope. No thank you. Hell no. Also, the costumes didn’t feel quite right. Many of Marilyn’s looks are rather famous so we’re all familiar with them. I kept trying to pin down why things didn’t fit perfectly and then I realized it was because of the bra. I know this is a weird thing to mention but it’s kind of an important detail to get the look of that era right. Back then all bras seem to produce that specific cone shape and in literally any picture of a Hollywood actress from that time you can clearly see that it changes how dresses/shirts sit. It’s a minor detail but it’s a very integral part of the fashion of the time and I don’t understand why they paid great attention to her costumes in other regards but then don’t add this. I swear if you look at side-by-side pics from the movie and the real Marylin you’d instantly spot what I’m talking about. I love analyzing costumes whenever I watch something that is vaguely historical, so inconstancies just bother me. One of my favorite Youtubers actually also did a video on the costumes in Blonde in case you’d like more of an expert opinion.
I think we well and truly established by now that I really did not like this film. I couldn’t really find many redeeming things about it other than that I learned some things about Monroe that I hadn’t known before. If that’s what you’re interested in, just go to Wikipedia, and don’t waste your time with this movie.
Did you watch the film? Let me know in the comments!
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3 thoughts on “Blonde”
Wow… we’re going to disagree with this as I actually thought it was great though I can see why people would hate it. It’s not a conventional bio-pic and based on the source material, it is faithful in its exploration of misogyny and identity. It’s not a film about Marilyn Monroe but rather Norma Jeane Baker and the persona she created that eventually became a monster.
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Yeah, this one really seems to generate very divisive opinions 😅
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