Blonde is a 2022 American fictionalized biographical drama film written and directed by Andrew Dominik, based on the 2000 novel of the same name by Joyce Carol Oates. The film is a fictionalized take on the life and career of American actress Marilyn Monroe, played by Ana de Armas. The cast also includes Adrien Bordy, Bobby Connavale, Xavier Samuel and Julianne Nicholson.
As a young girl, Norma Jeane Mortenson grows up raised by her mentally deranged mother Gladys. On her seventh birthday in 1933, she is given a framed picture of a man Gladys claims is her father. Later that night, a fire breaks out in the Hollywood Hills, and Gladys drives Norma Jean back up there, claiming that her father lives there, but is forced to go back home at the demand of the police. A fuming Gladys tries to drown Norma Jean in the bathtub when she asks about her father, but lets her go. Norma escapes naked and runs to a neighbor’s house, Miss Flynn, who promises she will be fine. A few days later, Norma Jean is sent to an orphanage while Gladys is admitted to a mental hospital, having been declared unfit to be a mother.
In the 1940’s, Norma Jeane becomes a pin-up girl under the stage name “Marilyn Monroe,” appearing on magazine covers and calendars. While trying to break into the acting industry, she is raped by film sutido president Mr. Z. In 1951, she auditions for the role of Nell in Don’t Bother to Knock. The audition goes badly after she breaks down and leaves in tears, but she impresses the casting director enough to give her the part. As her acting career starts to take off, she meets Charles “Cass” Chaplin Jr. and Edward G. “Eddy” Robinson Jr., with whom she begins a polyamorous relationship. She lands her breakout role in 1953 with Niagra, but after she is seen in public with Cass and Eddy, she is told by her agent to limit her public displays with them.
Norma Jeane becomes pregant with Cass’ child, much to her delight, but eventually decides to have an abortion out of fear that the child might inherit Gladys’ mental issues. Cass supports her decision. On the day of the appointment, she changes her mind, but it is too late. Following the abortion, she breaks things off with Cass and Eddy and. She later meets Joe DiMaggio, a retired baseball player. As she films Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, she recieves a letter from a man claiming to be her father. She feel disconnected to her onscreen performance at the film’s premiere, saying it wasn’t her. She goes back to her hotel room, having been told that someone is waiting for her. Expecting it to be her father, she insteads find Jow, who asks to marry her, which she accepts.
Norma Jeane and Joe’s marriage gets bad when Cass and Eddy give Joe some nude pictures of her, which infuriates Joe so much, that he beats her demands that she refuse to do The Seven Year Itch out of principle. However, she still goes through with the filming, doing the famous scene with the white dress. When she gets home, a drunken Joe screams and gets physically violent with her. She divorces him soon after.
In 1955, Norma Jeane auditions for the Broadway play Magda, written by renowned playwright Arthur Miller. During a read-through, her performance inpresses everyone but Arthur. He eventually warms up to her when she gives him inspirational character analysis. They marry and move to Maine, where she lives a happy life with him and become pregnant. However, ehen walking on the beach one day with a platter of food, she trips and miscarries. Devastated, she returns to acting soon after.
While filming Some Like It Hot, Norma Jean becomes more uncontrollavle and mentally unstable. She is overwhelmed by the constant press attention, feels that she is becoming a joke, has frequent outbursts on set, especially toward director Billy Wilder, and grows more and more distant from Arthur. To cope with her stress she begins taking pills.
By 1962, she has become dependant on drugs and alcohol. Secret Service agents pick up intoxicated Norma Jeane and take her to a hotel to meet the president, who forces her to fellate him, before raping her.
Most of this story is fictionalized, so it should not be taken as all facts. Historical events seemed to be changed up for entertainment a lot from Quintin Taratino’s take on the Manson Murders in Once Upon Time in Hollywood, to the Tony award winning musical Hamilton, to this movie and the book it is based off of. It is both a good and bad thing, good, for entertaimnet, bad, because you aren’t learning the real story.
The real story of Marilyn Monroe does start with her growing up with her single mentally ill and abusive mother and Norma getting sent to an orphanage and her mother a mental hospital. But Marilyn never had such a relationship with Charlie Chaplin Jr. or Edward G. Robinson Jr. Joe DiMaggio was an alcoholic and abusive to Norma and she did have an abortion and miscarriages. Norma pursued Arthur Miller, not the other way. But there is no concrete evidence that Monroe and JFK had an affair like most think.
The film is really slow at times and some scenes like the one where Norma has a threesome with Chaplin Jr. and Robinson Jr. are far too drawn out. That scene in particular, with it being drawn out makes it seem like a 1950’s pornography film. The acting, costumes and scenery is superb.
The casting of Ana de Armas was both good and bad. Good, beging that she got accent and mannersims down, but bad, because she is Cuban and more olive skinned than really fair like Marilyn, also bad, because her bra size is smaller than Monroe’s was and you see de Aramas topless a lot in this movie, so that isn’t true to the real icon.
Adrien Brody is fantastic as Arthur Miller, looking, sounding and acting nearly Identical to him. Bobby Connavale is great as Joe DiMaggio. Xavier Samuel is good as Cass Chaplin. Evan Williams is also good as Eddy Robinson Jr. and Julianne Nicholson is outstanding as Gladys.
Had this been an actual biographical film, they hadn’t cast someone controversial to play Monroe and it hadn’t been so long and drawn out, it would have been more enjoyable. But overall, I found myself rather bored at times and fairly surprised at other moments. The acting and costumes and makeup were really the best thing about this film. – Adults only. 2.5/5