Jack’s review published on Letterboxd:
Fuck Marylin, she’s not here!
From an earlier scene involving Norma screen testing for one of her famous films, she envisions seeing her lost father. That dialogue perfectly communicates her motives and arc throughout the entire runtime. Now as a person who’s fully invested in art house cinema, there are still some gripes with Dominik’s decision to fetishize Norma/Marylin’s life.
The basis of Blonde starts with the idea that it’s a “ghost story”. A “ghost story” that involves several failed marriages, men who have abused Monroe, her mother who became mentally ill, two babies who speak in her stomach, and a father who disappeared from her life. All of them have evaporated and haunted her mind for decades end. They torture her until she “accidentally” overdoses. Thus continuing the never ending cycle of abuse and neglect In Hollywood. If that doesn’t get inside your brain, then nothing will.
Speaking on Andrew Dominik’s personal take on Monroe has been visibly frustrating. For someone who should know everything about this woman’s life, his interview answers have been very suspect. This man has not seen Gentlemen Prefer’s Blondes and he called the young women in the movie as “they’re well dressed whores”. Or even worse “does anyone watch Marylin Monroe films?”. All straight up from a BFI interview.
As this man continues to speak on his mind, my interest with this film slowly sours. I’m not in the right mind to go after anyone who hates this film for being exploitative, gratuitous, and raw. However, I still love this film trying to circumvent the blandness of “historical fiction”.
For years on end, we’ve been suffering through piss-poor biopics about musicians and artists. Bohemian Rhapsody is the biggest offender of being generic, misinformed, and utterly boring. But we embrace conformity because it’s nostalgic and makes us warm inside. I for one love the idea of deconstructing an artist mind through experimentation and subversion of the genre. Blonde does that perfectly. Even more so, it utilizes horror imagery and editing/visual techniques to go inside Monroe’s brain.
Time will tell if this film will live up to its potential or not. The discourse behind this film has been both fascinating and cringy to experience. Tabloid media (Deuxmoi), Film Twitter, and younger critics have pointed out the misogyny, pure arrogance, and sickness of Blonde’s direction. Some have even pointed out to the idea that men get a pass to have such crazy artistic fantasies while women can’t. That is a deep concern. Furthermore, Don’t Worry Darling played a lot with feminist fantasies. Olivia Wilde sought to bring into light the horrors of incel culture and abuse of women. Unfortunately, that film scratches the surface and utilizes a poor sci-fi twist to drill a tired theme. There’s some similarities between this and Don’t Worry Darling.
That’s the word.
It’s a fantasy and a nightmare within.
There’s a slight possibility that some people are still sick with media illiteracy and prejudgment of set media. When you hear that this film does have several rape scenes, it’s NC-17, and it’s based on a fictional book, you can easily squirm at the idea. But if you actually go in cold, you might get something out of it. I’m trying not to go around in circles for this film. I’m just really tired of people prejudging art before it comes out. If you don’t like the sound of this film, don’t watch it. Stop complaining and move on.
Enough is enough. My time is done. Do what you will with this.