Blonde (2022) is a fictional biopic of the life of Norma Jean Mortenson, also more commonly known as Marilyn Monroe. The film is based on the book by Joyce Carol Oates and is written and directed by Andrew Dominik. In this movie, Cuban actress Ana de Armas plays the role of Monroe while Xavier Samuel, Adrien Brody,and Bobby Cannavale played supporting roles.
Streaming on Netflix
Blonde (2022) - Movie Review
Plot, Premise & Portrayal
Contrary to Netflix’s earlier documentary The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes, Blonde (2022) envisions to tell the story of Marilyn Monroe from childhood till death based on the chronology of what had happened. Blonde ultimately focuses on the journey of the actor through her family issues, trauma and exploitation. One thing to note is that: although the film is extremely loyal to the contents of the book by Joyce Carol Oates, it is also fictional. There are some truths to what is portrayed in the film, but there are also some elements that were known to be false (such as her throuple with Cass and Eddy) or merely conjectures.
Given the film’s NC-17 rating, it is no doubt that the film is not for the faint-hearted. It wasn’t just the nudity or abuse scenes that may be unsettling. Viewers were also shown a digital view of Monroe’s abortion through the scope of her vagina and a scene where Marilyn was forced to perform a fellatio for the President JFK. The idea was to stay true to the book and present what had or might have happened. Nevertheless some of these scenes were definitely an overkill for the audience.
The focus on the movie was so centered around Monroe’s trauma and victimization that it missed the opportunity to tell a different side of the story. In spite of all these burdens and exploitative people in her life, Marilyn Monroe was also an ambitious actress who climbed the ladder and went on the earn multiple awards for her work. She was witty, charming, had multi-layered complexities and not just a helpless lamb that Blonde portrayed her to be.
The cinematography of Blonde is astounding. In a lot of the scenes, audiences were shown views through Norma Jean’s experience and these were well-captured by the moving cameras and blurry view. On top of it all, the whole view is beautiful in its artistic form. It felt like there was a lot of intention into making the film dark and haunting, even in scenes with bright colours. The whole film shifts between black-and-white and colored scenes very well to create a different atmosphere whenever it needs to. Pauses in certain scenes like the death scene were also used extremely well to make emotions settle.
When Blonde (2022) released on Netflix, it was flooded with mixed reviews. But most would agree that the film is heavily carried by Ana de Armas’ performance as Marilyn Monroe. This film is Armas’ showcase to the world on her abilities as an actor. Armas embodies the whole character, even in body language and her honeyed voice, giving a mesmerizing performance and portrayal of the late actress.
This movie is moving and beautiful in a lot of ways, but it certainly is extremely graphic and only displays one side of the late actress. If you are keen to know about Marilyn Monroe’s potentially traumatic past, this might be for you. However, if you are keen to know about Marilyn as an individual and especially on her high profile relationships with JFK, this movie will not give you the answers you are looking for.