TW: Sexual assault.
Spoiler warning: This article mentions scenes from Blonde.
Blonde, directed by Andrew Dominik, gives poor insight to the rise, and eventual demise, of actress Marilyn Monroe. Just when we thought that Kim Kardashian ripping her infamous 60-year-old dress would be the worst thing to happen to Monroe in 2022, this new biopic comes along to prove us all wrong. Since its premiere at the Venice Film Festival in September, the film’s mortifying depiction of the starlet has stirred immense controversy.
Portrayed by Ana de Armas, the film centres around Monroe’s choice to have an abortion in order to star in the musical comedy Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953). Years later, when Monroe is pregnant again, she converses with her unborn, digitalized fetus image. “You won’t hurt me this time, will you?”’ the baby asks. “Not like you did last time?” She decides to keep the baby but suffers a miscarriage.
In true biographical context, there is no proof that Monroe ever had an abortion. Due to her battle with endometriosis, Monroe had fertility issues—responsible for her three miscarriages within a four-year period. As yet another movie that objectifies female suffering and pain, Planned Parenthood, for a statement in Variety, accused the film of being “anti-abortion propaganda.” IndieWire claimed it to be an “anti-choice statement.”
The film also includes a graphic sexual assault scene involving US president John F. Kennedy—another scene that frames Monroe’s experiences through a fictional lens.
Through its partially make-believe embellishments, the film fixates on glamourizing drama by revealing the pitfalls of an objectified, exploited woman. Monroe has had a long history of oversexualization and abuse. Following Monroe’s overdose in 1962, men such as Hugh Hefner, Founder of Playboy magazine, and Richard Poncher, a businessman from Los Angeles, followed the star beyond her grave. The two men were obsessed with the blonde bombshell and exploited her body by purchasing crypts beside hers.
Painted as an overemotional, male-obsessed woman, Monroe is praised for her body—as opposed to her personality. In a fictitious “throuple” with Charlie “Cass” Chaplin Jr. and Edward G. “Eddy” Robinson Jr, both men collectively oversexualize her.
Blonde only revels on Hollywood’s favourite trauma story: the breaking point of famous women. Monroe overdosed on sedative drugs that were prescribed to treat her depression. The film recreates Monroe’s death scene in the exact location where the real star died. It is astounding that Dominik spent ten years creating this film and nobody raised concerns.
With Brad Pitt behind the project as a co-producer—a Hollywood big shot who recently has been under fire for allegedly abusing his ex-wife Angeline Jolie and children—it goes without saying that there are repercussions when abusers are given creative advantages on large-scale productions such as Blonde.
This film is an insult to abused individuals. It prompts no valuable conversations that Monroe’s true story has to offer. To put things simply, Blonde has an insensitive agenda that should have been rejected by Netflix.