Blonde’s depressing themes overshadow its artistry

Kate Stoffel, Copy Editor

Director Andrew Dominik’s biopic Blonde stars Ana de Armas as 1950s Hollywood starlet, Marilyn Monroe. Blonde follows Monroe’s life in a fictionalized storyline based on the biographical novel Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates. Neither the film nor book are based solely on fact; both use fictionalized events and their own adaptations of Monroe’s real-life persona to create a perception of her private life.

Blonde follows the life of Monroe through flashbacks and time-jumps throughout the movie, using multiple actresses. We get a look at her professional, personal, and childhood lives, exploring the highs that the world got to witness, as well as the lows not so well-known by the public. Blonde was produced as an artistic film first and foremost above being created for an entertainment factor. The cinematography and unusual artistic choices used throughout the entire movie reflect this clearly. The characters Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller, who were both real-life lovers of Monroe, are referred to in the movie as “The Ex-Athlete” and “The Playwright” instead of their given names. Similarly, Monroe is often referred to as her stage name, Marilyn Monroe (as opposed to her birth-name Norma-Jean), and as “Blonde”, the characters being known by their professions rather than their true selves. This choice symbolizes the idea of a stage persona that people tend to put on depending on their surroundings to cover their true characters when completely themselves. The artistry of this movie was very high quality and, along with the acting performances, was the highlight of the entire film.

Majority of the cast gave a wonderful performance, especially lead-lady Ana de Armas who not only looked incredibly like Monroe, but was able to mimic her movements and characteristics in a very similar manner. The movie was well-made, even if dragging at certain points in the nearly three hour watchtime. 

However, the entire movie proves difficult to watch. It seems the director’s goal was to leave the audience feeling intensely negative emotions, creating an immense empathy for Monroe without ever giving the satisfaction of true prosperity entering her life. Controversy surrounds the integrity of the movie and how jarring it is just to watch. The lack of anything close to a happy ending for Monroe and the feeling of distaste felt after finishing the film found many wishing Hollywood would just let Marilyn rest. 

Blonde is not for everyone. It cannot be considered an accurate depiction of Monroe’s life, but it isn’t made for the casual movie viewer either. While it is a well-made movie, I can only give it 3 out of 5 stars. The artistry gone into the film is sadly overshadowed by just how monotonically depressing the entire movie is.