Netflix's New Marilyn Monroe Movie Is So "Cruel," Viewers Can't Finish It
Some subscribers are finding Blonde too brutal toward the late star.
Few movies released this year have arrived with as much buzz as Blonde, the fictionalized version of the life of Marilyn Monroe starring Ana de Armas as the legendary performer. After a brief theatrical release, the infamously NC-17-rated movie just hit Netflix on Sept. 28, and while subscribers have been curious to check it out, many are finding that they can only stomach a few minutes. Blonde focuses on the tragedy of Monroe's life, blending historical events with fantastical (or just plain invented) elements, and the execution has led some viewers to condemn it as being "cruel," "sexist," and "unwatchable." Read on to find out why some people are so disgusted by the film.
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The movie is based on a novel.
Blonde is not meant to be a historically accurate depiction of the events of Monroe's life. The movie is based on the 2000 novel of the same name by author Joyce Carol Oates. To Collider, Blonde director Andrew Dominik explained his vision, saying, "Well, the whole idea of Blonde was to detail a childhood drama and then show the way in which that drama splits the adults into a public and private self. And how the adult sees the world through the lens of that childhood drama, and it's sort of a story of a person whose rational picture of the world as being overwhelmed by her unconscious, and it uses the iconography of Marilyn Monroe."
De Armas' performance is being praised.
De Armas, who broke out as a star thanks to her role in the murder mystery hit Knives Out, won the role of Monroe in Blonde. While the movie's critics are divided—it currently holds a 45 percent on Rotten Tomatoes—many have lauded de Armas' transformation. The Wall Street Journal called it "a touching portrayal," and the Chicago Sun-Times called out her "legitimate acting chops" and "startling resemblance" to Monroe.
For her part, de Armas has praised the film and its director, saying Blonde is "the most beautiful thing [she's] ever done." She also has said that she believes that Monroe was spiritually present throughout the filming. "She was all I thought about, she was all I dreamt about, she was all I could talk about, she was with me and it was beautiful," the actor told journalists when Blonde premiered at the Venice Film Festival.
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Some specific scenes in Blonde have outraged viewers.
Speaking to Vulture earlier this year, Dominik promised that Blonde would "offend everyone," and it seems now that his prediction was fairly accurate.
Among the scenes stirring up the most anger online are the ones in which a fetus, which she calls "Baby," speaks to Monroe. Dominik told Decider that his intention wasn't to enter a reproductive rights debate in depicting the star's miscarriages and abortions in this unusual way. "Obviously, with Roe v. Wade being rolled back—the gradual erosion of freedoms that are going on in this country—there's a temptation to see what's going on with her through that lens," the director said. "But it's got nothing to do with that. It's about what Norma's feelings are about it."
The film also includes several instances of sexual violence against Monroe, including one in which John F. Kennedy sexually assaults the star. There's no historical evidence that the two ever had a forceful encounter, as reported by Radio Times.
Subscribers can't make it through the film.
Since the movie hit the streaming service, viewers have been taking to social media to register their complaints about Blonde.
"Tried to watch @netflix Blonde," wrote one Twitter user, as reported by The Independent. "Couldn't stomach more than about 20 minutes of the nearly three hours length. That 20 minutes was nothing but cruel and heartbreaking. Absolutely unwatchable."
"Oh wow," posted @battymamzelle. "Blonde may sincerely be one of the most detestable movies I've ever seen. A self-indulgent act of cruelty by a deeply incurious filmmaker."
"I had the extreme misfortune of watching Blonde on Netflix last night and let me tell you that movie is so anti-abortion, so sexist, so exploitative," wrote @StephHerold. "CanNOT recommend it LESS. Do not watch. The abortion scenes in particular are terrible, but so is the whole entire movie."
User @sinceiveknownu shared, "just watched #Blonde … it puts norma/marilyn in a box that only allows to her be abused, sexualized, or call people daddy. extremely strange. maybe we stop letting misogynistic men try to make groundbreaking films about women- of which they know nothing about."