Blonde: Too Fictional for a Biopic

Addie Mount, Staff Writer

The recent Netflix release, “Blonde,” starring Ana de Armas, is a fictional take on the life of Hollywood star Marilyn Monroe. Blonde is based on a novel written by Joyce Carol Oates in 1999. Blonde begins with Monroe’s childhood living with an abusive, addict mother and an absent father. We see themes from her childhood following her throughout the whole film. Marilyn never stops searching for her father, often looking for him in others. The movie follows the progression of her career as an actress and touches on how sexualized and disrespected Marilyn immediately became in the Hollywood industry. As she gets deeper into acting, she struggles with separating herself, Norma Jean, from who she is in Hollywood, Marilyn Monroe. This struggle rapidly becomes an identity crisis, as she feels like the persona of Marilyn is consuming who she truly is. Armas truly makes you feel connected to Monroe and how she craves love but receives it for the wrong reasons. This film is on the darker side; however, the happier scenes have an ethereal feel to them.

Director Andrew Dominik uses black and white in the film to portray Marilyn versus Norma, who is typically portrayed in color. The scenes in black and white seem to be scenes where Marilyn is putting on a façade of being happy, while the scenes in color are scenes where she is genuinely happy. The use of light and dark seems to mirror Marilyn’s mental state; scenes where she was overwhelmed and afraid were extremely bright and there was less visibility. Dominik also uses blurry camera work and oversaturation to emphasize Norma’s progressing struggle with addiction, and her eventual overdose.

While the film had a tragic and interesting plot, it was chaotic and hard to follow at times. There were unfinished plot lines, a lack of context, and at times it felt as if the viewer was left without closure.