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Review: Ana de Armas’ Fantastic Performance Is Overshadowed By Misguided Intent In ‘Blonde’

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BLONDE (2022)

A stunning performance from Ana de Armas makes Blonde an intriguing watch, but this lengthy, fictionalized voyeuristic exercise from writer/director Andrew Dominik is executed in a peculiar way, instead wallowing in a disjointed collection of Marilyn Monroe’s most vulnerable moments.

Based on Joyce Carol Oates’ fictionalized novel of the same name, Blonde is a collection of snapshots of Norma Jeane’s (more commonly known as Marilyn Monroe’s) life, both public and private. This is a film that made me feel dirty, a project that dives into the abuses of Monroe through depictions of a broken, abusive childhood and those who took advantage of her throughout her career. Alternating between color and a black and white presentation, the performances are commendable, but the intentions behind the film questionable at best. Rather than serving as a testament to the talent of its subject, Blonde instead joins in on the very exploitation it explores. 

The whole exercise is simply strange and offbeat, invoking a palpable discomfort from the fetishization of Monroe that never wanes over the close to three hour runtime.  It’s a film without a message, or at least one that fails to deliver any explanation of the commitment it asks for. Honestly, I feel dirty for watching. Blonde is a massive misfire and a prime example of a filmmaker’s misguided artistic expression, a baffling recipe that produces a foul-tasting disappointment. 

Blonde is now playing in limited theaters and hits Netflix tomorrow.

Rating: 1/5

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