- Movie Rating -

The 95th Academy Awards: ‘Blonde’

| February 1, 2023

• Best Actress in a Leading Role – Ana de Armas

So . . . according to Andrew Dominick’s biopic Blonde, Marilyn Monroe didn’t have one single moment of joy or peace or happiness in her life – never so much as a boring evening at home.  Her whole life, through his lens, was an odious, non-stop miasma of psychological torment and misery.  And somewhere in between she was occasionally able to eek out How to Marry a Millionaire and Some Like It Hot.

Why do authors and filmmakers do this?  Why are they less interested in smothering Marylin’s life in hateful trash.  Yes, she had a difficult life.  She was abused first by her mother, and then by a long series of men who abused her physically and sexually while building her career and her image.  But who wants to see a movie about that?

It probably wouldn’t bother me so much of Dominick’s film wasn’t bathed in a lot of hellish, dream-like swathing images of male gaze and matricide and sexual abuse.  His screenplay never attempts to put us in the room with a real person.  It’s a horror show that, I suppose, is trying to get inside the head of a woman that few if anyone was ever really able to get close to.  Worse?  The movie is complete fiction, based on a book by Joyce Carol Oates that glues together pieces and parts of rumors, speculation and mythology (read: gossip!) into a movie that wants to root around under this poor woman’s fingernails and unearth a lot of nonsense without any real commentary or – God forbid – genuine concern for this troubled soul.

Anna de Armis is a charming actress, she was so good in Knives Out and the Blade Runner sequel but here she’s required to spend the whole movie withering and crying in hysterics.  Whenever the clouds do briefly part, they close up again and we get shots of an unborn fetus.

There’s a scene late in the film in which Marilyn runs away from the Some Like It Hot set and goes home to a ringing telephone.  When she answers, she tells the person on the other end that “Marilyn Monroe won’t be coming in today, you’ll have to shoot around her.”  I think that sums up exactly what Dominick as done here.


About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.