Blonde is a biographical film written and directed by Andrew Dominik and is based on the 2000 novel of the same name by Joyce Carol Oates. The film is a fictionalized take on the life and career of Marilyn Monroe. Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Tracey Landon, Brad Pitt, and Scott Robertson produced the film. Note: Along with shifting aspect ratios, most of the film is presented in black and white. I thought I had seen all the movies I would want to see about Marilyn Monroe, but since Blonde was nominated for an Academy Award, I watched it with an open mind and really liked Dominik’s version of the iconic actress named Norma Jeane.
As a child, Norma Jeane Mortenson/Marilyn Monroe (Ana de Armas) was raised by her mentally unstable mother Gladys Pearl Baker (Julianne Nicholson). On her seventh birthday in 1933, Gladys shows her daughter a framed picture of a man she claims is her father. Later that night, a fire breaks out in the Hollywood Hills where Gladys decides to drive Norma Jeane, claiming her father lives there. Upon her arrival, the police dismiss Gladys as a drunk and sends her away. Back home, an enraged Gladys tries to drown Norma Jeane in the bathtub but eventually lets her go. A few days later, Norma Jeane is sent to an orphanage while Gladys is admitted to a mental hospital, after being declared unfit to raise a child.
What an introduction to life for a child. The entire experience apparently shaped who Norma Jeane became mentally and physically. The film shows her as a pushover with no self-esteem. It seems she became a sex object for most men — they either loved her or used her as she set no boundaries for herself nor stopped to assess her life. The one thing Marilyn wanted was a baby but every time she got pregnant, something or someone would cause the pregnancy to be aborted. We all know her history and that she died a lonely death of drugs. Her life was sad from the very beginning. Blonde was thorough but I’m not sure how much of it was embellished for the sake of an interesting movie. Despite doubts, I liked the film and felt very sorry for this beautiful young woman who was dealt a lousy hand in life, leaving us way too soon — RIP, finally Norma Jeane. Blonde is currently streaming on Netflix. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, Blonde holds a rating of 42% based on 300 reviews, with an average of 5.5/10. The site’s critic’s consensus reads: “Ana de Armas’ luminous performance makes it difficult to look away, but Blonde can be hard to watch as it teeters between commenting on exploitation and contributing to it.” The film also garnered controversy and notoriety for its lead casting, graphic sexual content, and status as the first NC-17-rated film to be released via a streaming service. Obviously, Blonde is not for everyone — Check It Out!
[BLONDE is Oscar-nominated at the 95th Academy Awards for Best Actress Totaling 1 nomination]