New Marilyn Monroe movie Blonde: fact or fiction?


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A photo of Marilyn Monroe, the American actress that is the center of Blonde

Victoria Brothers, Staff Writer

Netflix’s Marilyn Monroe film Blonde has made a fresh appearance and has been met with negative backlash. The documentary stars Ana de Armas, playing Marilyn Monroe as well as actors Bobby Cannavale and Adrien Brody mirroring her late husbands. 

The rationale for all the criticism Blonde is receiving is that the story has been fictionalized. The documentary’s intent was to reflect Joyce Carol Oates’s novel, but the film’s role took on a journey of its own. Moreover, critics and viewers have spoken out about the story as it includes factually inaccurate information regarding Marilyn’s life. While still fully utilizing iconic Marilyn’s image, the documentary depicts something a little different. 

Additionally, this has gained mixed reviews because the documentary addresses topics such as sexual assault, abortion, and Marilyn’s overall suffering. This isn’t completely beneficial to the storyline because the plot outlines an imprecise take on what really happened, even when including such fragile concepts. 

Aside from the sensitive topics demonstrated in Blonde, another point of controversy the film has received correlates to the amount of anti-abortion propaganda. Even institutions like Planned Parenthood have spoken out against the film for promoting this kind of campaign, as it portrays medically false depictions of pregnancy and even more so the specific procedures linked to abortion. With that being said, the graphic scenes shed more light on Marilyn’s negative life encounters, leaving no room to share her positive contributions to society. 

However, the movie has divided critics, some of which praise the film for touching upon such powerful and uncomfortable topics in an era like now, but others argue the film made a mockery of Monroe’s life. 

One subject matter that reflects a positive element of the film is the feminist perspective it presents. Critics arguing this side, demonstrate that even if it is a fictionalized approach, how Monroe’s pain is conveyed makes viewers that much more empathetic towards women’s trauma and Monroe herself. The trauma Monroe faces in the film allows viewers to not only sympathize with her, but even potentially relate to her ongoing mental health struggles. 

On the opposite side, commentators argue that Blonde is overly committed to portraying one side of  Monroe’s life story. Blonde intended to stay true to the fictionalized version of Joyce Carol Oates’s novel, but in doing so, silenced Monroe’s voice against serious issues she did or did not face in both her adolescent and adult life. This sprung up a new series of controversies because silencing her voice takes her positive contributions on  society and the entertainment industry away and distorts a true interpretation of Monroe from those just learning about her. 

All factors considered, the film would’ve gone over better if a true perception of Marilyn was conveyed. In general, watchers prefer factuality over myth, and the film was generally false information. 

If one were to judge Marilyn based upon the release of Blonde, it would do her life an injustice for the reason that her role took on a life of its own. It is difficult to fully understand Marilyn’s struggles, roles, and life when various factors are altered and when she is portrayed as an unstable victim for the majority of the film. Is Blonde just another way to exploit a false interpretation of a vulnerable Marilyn Monroe?