The film “Blonde”: the drama about Marilyn Monroe divided the audience
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In the premiere film about Marilyn Monroe, the director embodied his erotic-satirical fantasies, but did not reveal the topic of how a pop icon turned out of a Hollywood actress.
The premiere film from Netflix about Marilyn Monroe divided viewers and critics into two polar camps – some liked the free interpretation of the biography of the star – an adaptation of the bestseller of the same name by writer Joyce Carol Oates, while others hated the tape for its naturalistic accusatory pathos.
Many expected a sex scandal from director Andrew Dominik's three-hour film at the Venice Film Festival, as the film's PR campaign was pumped up that there were prohibitively explicit scenes. There really are three episodes with sex, but there was no scandal: they were not filmed “beyond”.
However, “Blonde” did not receive prizes. And even the heroic (without exaggeration) work of the lead actress Ana de Armas was not noted. Why? In our opinion, because the director wanted to be original in order to get away from the commonplaces associated with the image of Monroe, but as a result, the film turned out to be about a neurotic psychopath who plays the role of a victim in any circumstances. The technical performance is impressive in the picture, but it is significantly inferior to its ideological and artistic component. Focusfigured out why it happened.
The Australian Andrew Dominik worked on the film for about ten years, having started filming the novel by Joyce Carol Oates immediately after the crime thriller The Casino Heist (2012) with Brad Pitt. With him, he filmed the western The How the Cowardly Robert Ford Killed Jesse James (2007). These pictures are devoid of romantic flair: both are about how things are cynically resolved in the USA: someone is always an executioner – someone is a victim. As the protagonist-killer of “Casino Heist” said through the mouth of Pitt: “There is no society in America, only business.”
In “Blonde” Andrew Dominic dances not from the personality of Monroe, but from this ideological concept, by the way, close to the one that Oates put into the novel. In the tape there was a meeting of the concept of “the world as a business” and the character of Marilyn Monroe, but as a result of their merger, there was little left of the real star on the screen. According to our observations, the authors of laudatory reviews share his accusatory pathos with the artist, and those who did not accept the film are perplexed, where is Marilyn herself?
Why the film “Blonde” about Marilyn Monroe is not a biopicIf you are going to watch the film, accept initially that “Blonde” is not a biopic, but the director's free fantasy on the theme of a novel about a Hollywood film star. In the tape, there is not even the split personality of the actress declared in the book to Norma Jean Baker and Marilyn Monroe. Formally, it exists (at the premiere of the film “Niagara” Norma repeats about her Monroe: “It's not me, it's a monster”), but in fact Ana de Armas portrays both hypostases in the same way.
In her interpretation, Norma is an extremely sensitive person who shudders at any sharp sound, a skinless person. With her hypersensitivity and nervousness, she resembles the character Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), but she is at least on her own mind. And here Norma is bullied by a schizophrenic mother, showing a photo of an unknown father and forbidding her to even touch the “sacred” portrait; raped on the table by a studio producer during an audience; beaten by a jealous husband. Abortion and miscarriage are shown in detail. This big-eyed vulnerable creature endlessly grinds the cruel machine of the world – and will not choke.
Norma Jean is happy only once in the entire tape when he makes love to Cas Chaplin (the son of a great actor) and his boyfriend.But even they acted like pigs – they later blackmailed Marilyn-Norma's husband with her candid shots.
And the brightest thing in the life of Norma Baker is a tiger cub toy and a photo of her father, whom she has been looking for all her life. Therefore, she calls all her husbands daddies. But they are material, and the father with the photo, like God, is the invisible support of the heroine. Her main, almost religious dream is to meet him. But it is impossible to extort at least some real facts of his biography from a mother placed in a mental hospital due to an exacerbation of schizophrenia.
All this internal chaos and discord is opposed only by the luxurious body of the heroine. After Marilyn's monologue at the audition, the producers discuss that the actress seems a little crazy. And right after that, the general, looking after the departing girl, remarks admiringly: “Have you seen her ass?” It turns out that from a set: depression, tears, injuries, sensitivity, obsession with his father – only a bright appearance allowed Monroe to become a pop icon. But there are thousands of beautiful actresses in Hollywood! Doesn't fuse together.
Marilyn, Norma Jean… The missing link
The logical failure occurs because the strong-willed component is surgically removed from the image of Marilyn. Here are the facts of her biography. The first marriage was at the age of 16. Factory work. When she became a pin-up model, at the age of 20 her image appeared on the covers of 33 publications – an outstanding result. When she moved to the cinema from the modeling business, she had endless acting courses and powerful mentors, including Mikhail Chekhov.
Yes, and as for the body, not everything was so rosy. Norma had two plastic surgeries (nose, hairline) paid for by her lovers. Somewhere her way up is reminiscent of Madonna (more precisely, of course, vice versa) – the use of men to build a career.
But in “Blonde” we constantly see a maniacally sensitive infantile baby who defenselessly bats her big eyes, speaks with aspiration and uses tons of barbiturates. From the actions of Marilyn in the film “Blonde” there is only a tough telephone dispute about the fee for the participation in the film “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (1953): the studio greatly underestimated the payment and the actress refused to go on the set.
In the tape of Andrew Dominik – continuous exploitation of Marilyn Monroe and her sexual appearance, as if she did not make a lot of efforts – both her own and others – to reach the top, but was only a “tidbit” for a pack of predators. But after all, in any image of Monroe, her magnetic power of temptation is felt. After all, after her there were already dozens of famous platinum blondes (she not only dyed, but also straightened her brown hair), who for some reason do not act so imperiously. From thousands of photographs and frames, the queen of seduction and glamor is looking at us, and not the victim.
“Blonde” shows the shooting of the famous scene for the film “The Seven Year Itch” (1955), where the air from the subway ventilation grate inflates the skirt of the heroine's white dress, Marilyn here is an angel of seduction – the edges of her skirt flutter like wings. Dozens of photographers click flashes around and five thousand spectators roar enthusiastically – the studio made a PR action out of shooting this episode.
Marilyn Monroe is the perfect combination of innocence and temptation(hence the image of the bride- temptress of the singer Madonna). ).
But no matter what happens in the picture positive, Andrew Dominik inflates a sense of anxiety: the viewer is constantly waiting for some kind of “paragraph”. Some in this regard recall the style of David Lynch, but in “Blonde” everything is much more vulgarly furnished, like in a melodramatic series. The director shows us the “type” of the wrong side of life. In the same sex scene with US President John F. Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe seemed to become Monica Lewinsky. Kennedy is talking on the phone at the same time.
Andrew Dominic did not spare satirical colors for the two most charming people on the planet: they are both ridiculously disgusting.
“Love is self-deception,” makes the global the conclusion of Marilyn Monroe through the mouth of her movie heroine. But the director convinces us that in general – everything around is a lie. After all, letters that he sent to her unilaterally are also associated with Marilyn's “divine” father. But here, too, there was a fake. And in this situation, death is the best way out for the heroine.
In general, those viewers whose life concept fits into the worldview of the director will be delighted with the film, and for whom such a view of things seems flat, mundane, devoid of spirituality and volume – they will consider the tape nonsense. As for Ana de Armas, she did her best and coped with the director's task one hundred percent.