The Netflix premiere of the Marilyn Monroe movie Blonde has drawn some mixed opinions from viewers. Starring Ana de Armas as Monroe, the film has been criticized by some for its artistic license in depicting the life of the late Hollywood legend. Blonde’s NC-17 rating has also allowed for director Andrew Dominik to include content that some critics and viewers would have simply preferred not to see. Some of the more harsh reviews for Blonde have labeled the film as “sexist,” “exploitative,” and “detestable.”
“Given all the indignities and horrors that Marilyn Monroe endured during her 36 years — her family tragedies, paternal absence, maternal abuse, time in an orphanage, time in foster homes, spells of poverty, unworthy film roles, insults about her intelligence, struggles with mental illness, problems with substance abuse, sexual assault, the slavering attention of insatiable fans — it is a relief that she didn’t have to suffer through the vulgarities of Blonde, the latest necrophiliac entertainment to exploit her,” reads one review by Manohla Dargis of The New York Times.
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Per Variety, abortion researcher Steph Herold is quoted as saying, “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. Cannot recommend it LESS. Do not watch. The abortion scenes in particular are terrible, but so is the whole entire movie. It depicts Marilyn being coerced into her first abortion, screaming on the table that she’s changed her mind, and then she hallucinates finding a crying baby in her childhood home, which is engulfed in flames.”
Other reactions to the film shared on social media further criticize Blonde for similar reasons, with one tweet reading, “Oh wow. 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.”
“Literally one of the grossest things I’ve ever seen. Made me sick,” one response to the tweet stated.
“Started watching Blonde the Marilyn movie on Netflix and… it’s so made for the male gaze,” another critical tweet reads. “I hate it. It’s shot beautifully but the content is… not it. Obvious it’s written & directed by a man unfortunately.”
“Blonde has to be one of the most disrespectful, distasteful, fabricated biopics I’ve ever seen,” says another Monroe supporter feeling that the film dishonors her legacy. “Marilyn was not weak she stood up for Civil rights, women’s rights to equal pay, she never wanted to be treated as a joke or sex object… they did all of the above.”
Blonde Is the No. 1 Movie on Netflix
Even with the criticism, Blonde has not exactly been a bust for Netflix. Quickly upon its release, the film rose to become the No. 1 film on the streaming platform. People are tuning in en masse, though a look at social media will reveal that there are many viewers unsatisfied with what they are seeing. While there has been a lot of praise for Ana de Armas for her performance as Marilyn Monroe, reviews for the film itself are split, landing with a 44% rating on Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing.
Blonde is based on the original novel by Joyce Carol Oates and is written and directed by Andrew Dominik. Along with Ana de Armas, the film stars Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale, Evan Williams, and Xavier Samuel.
Blonde is now streaming on Netflix.