Film Review: Blonde (2022)

I watched Blonde last night, the new film about Marilyn Monroe. By now I’m sure most people already know she had a terrible life, was abused by Hollywood and died tragically. Although Ana de Armas does a commendable job with a script that only really allows her to, a) cry, b) suffer gratuitously, and c) recreate famous iconic moments of her career, that is the beginning and end of what is good about this movie. I really hated this movie. That doesn’t happen often. A film about the exploitation of Marilyn becomes itself the epitome of exploitation. I don’t think the male director even likes Marilyn, with a cold gaze he seems only interested in dissecting her suffering like a surgeon of misery. A one note litany of pain and woe that reduces all of Marilyn’s psychological complexity and intelligence into a daddy issues and fear of abandonment soap opera. Marilyn spends the choppily edited film lurching from one horror to the next, searching for her daddy, and being abused in the most unsettling and gruesome ways. What is the point of this film? Beyond showing us that she suffered terribly, it feels so hollow and empty. One of the greatest movie stars of all time in Blonde is a victim to predations of men, and the predations of its own director. I highly doubt a woman director could have made a film like this. Despite its 2hour and 40 min run time I felt I knew less about Marilyn than when I started. There’s so much more to Marilyn, her art, her mind and her impact. This misery porn is a betrayal of her and the incredible performance of Ana de Armas. Do yourself a favour and avoid this film. 3/10