Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Blonde (2022)

Streaming Service: Netflix
Movie Name/Year: Blonde (2022)
Genre: Biography, Drama, Mystery
Length: 2h 46min
Rating: NC-17
Production/Distribution: Plan B Entertainment, Netflix
Director: Andrew Dominik
Writers: Andrew Dominik, Joyce Carol Oates
Actors: Adrien Brody, Ana de Armas, Bobby Cannavale, Caspar Phillipson, Garret Dillahunt, Julianne Nicholson, Lucy DeVito, Rebecca Wisocky, Sara Paxton, Scoot McNairy, Toby Huss, Xavier Samuel
IMDb Blurb: A fictionalized chronicle of the inner life of Marilyn Monroe.

Cat’s Point of View:
I had a lot to say with Blonde’s listing as my #16 pick on September’s Top 20 list. Now that I’ve watched the movie, I’ll try to address most of those points here, with my review.
First and foremost, I’ll be blunt and shoot straight with you right out of the gate – Blonde was an uncomfortable watch. I do believe that was the point of the story, however. This narrative explored how young Norma Jean was taken advantage of because of her aspirations, appearance, and broken past. It was a gritty and unflinching depiction of the dichotomy between the woman Norma Jean and the Hollywood creation of Marilyn Monroe; as well as the darker side of the movie industry – especially before the women’s rights movement came along.

Blonde is not for the faint of heart or anyone sensitive to the topics of sexual assault, nudity, drug use, or abortion. I’d say just about all of the aforementioned topics are rather ‘hot-button’ in nature, and it became abundantly clear as to why the MPAA went with the NC-17 rating as I watched. While this adaptation’s screenwriter and director, Andrew Dominik (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Killing Them Softly, Mindhunter), felt that he’d delivered a strong R rating, and some elements have made it to the screen in the past without such a drastic label, when you put everything together, Blonde is a film best experienced by mature audiences only.
Marilyn Monroe (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Don’t Bother to Knock, Some Like It Hot) was absolutely iconic. It shouldn’t be surprising that the golden girl of the silver screen had darkness in her life, though we should also take Blonde with a grain of salt and not accept all of it as gospel. While the story does incorporate actual timeline moments from Monroe’s life, this is the 2nd on-screen adaptation of a novel – a work of fiction. This was not a biography or documentary by any means.

If anything, Blonde felt more like an art-house take on the life of Marilyn Monroe. It was gorgeous and the dominant use of black and white gave it some stark contrast. It wasn’t all in monochrome, however. Blonde was also overly long. You could have edited out at least an hour and it probably would have had a greater impact. It was really a chore to maintain focus at some points because my ADHD was screaming at me. Dominik has called the production “an avalanche of images and events” rather than your typical movie experience. That was an apt description, as I feel like I’ve been buried by the weight of it now that the credits have rolled.
The cast was phenomenal. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some Oscar nods from this production. There was a lot of hoopla before Blonde was released about lead Ana de Armas’ (The Night Clerk, Deep Water, No Time to Die) accent. I didn’t care about that at the time I was writing my Top 20 article, and I don’t care any more about that now that I’ve watched the film. I barely noticed the odd coloring of accent here and there. I think Armas nailed Monroe’s light and whispy voice with near perfection. Her performance was so powerful that anything so tiny really was insignificant in comparison.

When all was said and done, Blonde simply wasn’t my cup of tea. My curiosity about Marilyn Monroe’s life pushed my desire to watch this movie. Now that I have, I’m left with the squirmy discomfort of it. This is definitely not a popcorn flick to watch for a relaxing night. Blonde wasn’t something I could just turn my brain off to enjoy. For that reason, I can’t see myself inflicting the brutality of this story on myself again in the future.
I wouldn’t say that I’d steer anyone away from Blonde, however, I’d caution anyone thinking of watching it to take these points into consideration before pressing play.  Blonde became available for streaming on Netflix today, September 28, 2022.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 50%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 46%
Metascore – 49%
Metacritic User Score – 4.4/110
IMDB Score – 6.1/10
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 3/5
Movie Trailer:

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