Blonde’ misses the mark and exploits Marilyn Monroe

Instead of liberating the late actress, Marilyn Monroe, ‘Blonde’ chooses to exploit monroe through graphic scenes of trauma and sexual assault. The movie does to Monroe what was already done to her by many men and the public eye of Hollywood throughout her too-short life.

In 2022, it is infuriating that we are still allowing men to degrade women to hypersexualized objects for their gratification and entertainment. The almost three-hour-long film, “BLONDE”,  that was meant to capture Marilyn Monroe’s captivating presence in Hollywood did exactly that; demeaned and over-sexualized the accomplished late actress. 

Ana de Armas’ uncanny resemblance to Monroe and breathtaking acting throughout the film are one of the only positive takeaways. credit: IMDB

The film was released on Netflix on Sept.  28, 2022, with a NC-17 rating that foreshadowed the meaningless and overused nudity in the film that was to come. Directed by Andrew Dominick, the film is based on a novel “Blonde” published in 2000 by Joyce Carol Oates. Ana de Armas takes on the role of Marilyn (also known as Norma Jean) and does so well that her acting is the one enjoyable takeaway from the film.


It is clear that the film was directed and produced by a team of men, with little character development built throughout the plot of the film, even though there was three hours to do so. 

The film begins with Monroe growing up with her mother abusing her and suffering from mental illness and then skips to her “discovery” in Hollywood.


We are introduced to Norma Jean as a young child, where her mother tries to drown her in the bathtub. After she is brought to an orphanage, the film fasts forward to Norma Jean who has already taken on the role of Marilyn Monroe as a pin-up girl. The film begins with a story of an abused child and then fast forwards to an abused woman, and never lets Marilyn be anything more than that; a victim.


Throughout Monroe’s lifetime, she was exploited by the men and press of Hollywood. The film clearly depicts that through multiple scenes of her being sexually abused by different men in power; including the president. However, this film didn’t have to put Monroe through the same thing twice. The actress was diminished to only her sexual attraction years ago; this film should have sought to liberate her. 


The cinematography and acting by Ana de Armas is incredible and breathtaking at moments. The usage of color and black and white film captures Armas almost uncanny resemblance to Monroe. The film takes on iconic moments of Monroe’s well known presence and duplicates them so you feel like you’re experiencing the real thing. The team of production had a 22 million dollar budget and did nothing but exploit Marilyn and tell a version of a story already told. 

Many of Ana de Armas’ co-stars include powerful men with wealth and public presence who become intimate partners of hers throughout Monroe’s life. Bobby Cannavale stars as Monroe’s second husband, Joe DiMaggio. Frustrated by Monroe’s yearning to continue acting and public attention, DiMaggio, usually drunk and angry, verbally and physically abuses his wife in multiple scenes. 


Adrien Brody is introduced into the film as Arthur Miller, who was Monroe’s final husband. Brody is well known in the acting world, being the youngest actor to win the Academy Award for Best Actor. Miller seems to be a more gentle and truthful love to Marilyn, being one of the only men to recognize her curious and knowledgeable mind. Although Miller did not abuse Monroe, she was devastated when she found notes he had written about her. Monroe viewed this act of Miller’s as betrayal.


The over usage of nudity creates a strong sense of uncomfortability throughout the entire film.  Never do we see one of the men that Monroe is with, exploited with scenes of nudity by the production team like she is. This film accomplishes nothing but capitalize on the sexual objectification and obsession with Monroe’s persona. 


If Ana de Armas didn’t have the blonde curly bob and the gentle resemblance to Monroe, you may have never known this film was made to be about the life of Marilyn Monroe. We as an audience never get to know Monroe as Norma Jean. We are never invited into her mind where she feigned for perfection. She fought her shy personality and stage fright and worked tirelessly to earn different roles in multiple movies. We are only reminded that Monroe is a victim of abuse and exploitism from Hollywood.

Although cruel and dull, ‘Blonde’ seeks to recreate iconic moments of the well-known actress through cinematography. credit IMDB

Audiences wanted to know how Monroe navigated her way to the stardom of Hollywood. Yet, we are brought through moments where men use their power to take advantage of Monroe so that she can pass her auditions. This woman had an entire life and mind to look into, but this film had little to do with Marilyn Monroe or Norma Jean and everything to do with exploiting her in the same way she already was throughout her life.


Facebook Comments