‘Blonde’ director addresses “strange” backlash to Marilyn Monroe biopic


Blonde director Andrew Dominik has called the backlash to his recent Marilyn Monroe biopic “strange”.

The controversial Netflix film starring Ana De Armas as the Hollywood icon was released back in September, and received a large amount of criticism suggesting that it is exploitative of Monroe.

During an appearance at the Red Sea International Film Festival in Saudi Arabia, Dominik spoke on the discourse around the film, suggesting that US audiences “hated” how it depicted Monroe.

“Now we’re living in a time where it’s important to present women as empowered, and they want to reinvent Marilyn Monroe as an empowered woman. That’s what they want to see,” he said (via The Hollywood Reporter). “And if you’re not showing them that, it upsets them.”

Director Andrew Dominik in 'This Much I Know To Be True'. Credit: Press
Director Andrew Dominik in ‘This Much I Know To Be True’. Credit: Press

Dominik continued: “Which is kind of strange, because she’s dead. The movie doesn’t make any difference in one way or another. What they really mean is that the film exploited their memory of her, their image of her, which is fair enough.

“But that’s the whole idea of the movie. It’s trying to take the iconography of her life and put it into service of something else, it’s trying to take things that you’re familiar with, and turning the meaning inside out. But that’s what they don’t want to see.”

The director went on to speak about growing up in the 1980s, where to “offend your audience was a solemn duty, to wrench them out of a complacency about things,” adding that he was “really pleased” that Blonde “outraged so many people.”

Back in October, original Blonde author Joyce Carol Oates defended the film, saying it was a “brilliant work of cinematic art obviously not for everyone”.

Ana de Armas
‘Blonde’ is now streaming on Netflix. CREDIT: Netflix

“I think it was/is a brilliant work of cinematic art obviously not for everyone,” she added. “Surprising that in a post #MeToo era the stark exposure of sexual predation in Hollywood has been interpreted as ‘exploitation’. Surely [director] Andrew Dominik meant to tell Norma Jeane’s story sincerely.”

NME‘s Gary Ryan said in his review of the film: “If you’re expecting an accurate, multifaceted biography of Monroe, you’ll be sorely disappointed by Blonde, which doesn’t particularly have much to say about the star other than a surface-level Freudian ‘daddy issues’ interpretation.

“However, viewed as a fever-dream psychological horror about somebody unravelling, and how fame is the mask that eats the face, it’s dizzyingly audacious filmmaking.”

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