Some don’t like it hot.
Andrew Dominik’s take on Marilyn Monroe in “Blonde” is a miserable bag for me. It’s a movie that looks great, because of the scope and Ana de Armas portraying the actress, but feels unfocused and negative, in terms of its story and NC-17 rating. It feels more like a hate letter towards the legend.
This movie is presented in both color and black-and-white. Personally, I’ve admired the black-and-white scenes, because of the reflection of some of Monroe’s classic films and now riveting this scope has always been.
The NC-17 rating regards to the actress being raped, naked, bleeding due to a miscarriage, and the beginning of two abortion scenes. The movie focuses on the exploitation and abuse against her, which seems to be glamorized. We see her getting raped by a studio head (David Warshofsky) and even JFK (Caspar Phillipson), and we see her in a threesome with Charlie Chaplin, Jr. (Xavier Samuel) and Edward G. Robinson, Jr. (Evan Williams). This is just sickening to look at. This movie was so long, running at 2 hours and 45 minutes, that I had to take a bathroom break, and I should have gone during one of those scenes.
In various parts, she’s convinced she’ll reunite with the father whom she has never met, often saying “Daddy” in scenes with different people. She says it to her abusive baseball star husband Joe DiMaggio (Bobby Cannavale), for example. And she’s also miserable by the fact that her mother (Julianne Nicholson) is institutionalized because of her condition.
There are also scenes with her marriage to playwright Arthur Miller (Adrien Brody) and how her makeup artist Whitey (Toby Huss) tries to support her issues.
And all know her real name was Norma Jean.
“Blonde” may run for less than 3 hours, but it doesn’t feel like a history movie about the actress. It feels more like an exploitation piece with the sex, drugs, and abuse she’s suffered through in her career. I’ve seen some of her classic films like “Some Like It Hot” and “The Seven Year Itch,” but even I acknowledge that great stars have their troubles off camera. I’ve also seen her documentary “The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe,” which was no classic doc, but still showed us the dangerous elements in her life.
When I heard about this project, and Ana de Armas being cast as this blonde, I wasn’t sure how they would pull it off since she is Spanish and Cuban. But then again, some African-Americans were able to pose as white people back then. And then again, we have makeup artists to make her look like the beautiful actress, and de Armas was already beautiful.
She uses her dialogue and moods-certainly more attractive than her last two movies this year (“Deep Water” and “The Grey Man”)-but sitting in a theater, I could do without some of the loud screams. It’s just my autistic condition. I just don’t like hearing loud noises in certain areas. Either way, this hasn’t been a good year at the movies for her.
I don’t want people who read this review to accuse me of hating the actress or never have seen any of her films. I love her and I love her films-in fact I call “Some Like It Hot” “The Original White Chicks.” And I don’t want anyone accusing me of not enjoying NC-17 films. I’ve enjoyed “Midnight Cowboy” and “Blue is the Warmest Color.” But I wish “Blonde” didn’t enjoy the abuse so much. Andrew Dominik guides the lead quite well; he just blows everything out of proportion.
“Well, nobody’s perfect.”
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