Blond has divided critics in early reviews, who have described it as “miserabilistic” and “fascinating”.
Directed by Andrew Dominik and based on the novel by Joyce Carol Oates, Blond stars Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe and “blurs the lines of fact and fiction” in a reinvention of her life. The film also stars Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale, and Julianne Nicholson.
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Blond has generated controversy after it received a restrictive NC-17 rating in the US, which recommends that no one under the age of 18 should view the biopic.
Following its premiere at the Venice Film Festival on Thursday (September 8), where the film was greeted with a 14-minute standing ovation, reviews have now been posted online, painting a more controversial reception.
In a positive review about Term, de Armas’s performance is described as “extraordinary”, “fiercely emotional”, and the reason “the film works at all”. The review, however, notes that some explicit scenes of a miscarriage and a talking fetus may put viewers off.
“But for the brave and the curious, Blond should be riveting, a riveting slow-motion car crash out of a movie that puts you squarely in the driver’s seat of the oncoming vehicle,” the review reads.
In a three star review on The Guardianthe film is described as potentially falling into a “exploitation that is problematic” regarding explicit scenes.
“It will be interesting to see how this fits with audiences when it premieres and finally hits Netflix, testing whether Monroe’s story still resonates with viewers younger than the baby boomers who remember her when she was still alive,” the review reads. . “De Armas’ intense and ultimately persuasive performance goes a long way toward bringing the goddess down to earth, but will that be enough?”
IndieWire was more critical of Monroe’s portrayal, writing, “It’s not that Andrew Dominik made an implausible film about the experience of a poor young beauty haunted by fear of insanity who was chewed up by the Hollywood machine, the problem is that has made a movie inspired by Marilyn Monroe where she is monotonously characterized as a victim.
“To watch any of her films is to feast on a luminous artist whose intelligence is sublimated under a consciously hypnotic physical effect. His legacy is still best preserved through his talent, rather than through a film that might as well be another side printed by Andy Warhol’s factory: an X-ray version, so instead of bright colors of art pop, the template is simply of a skull.”
In a review about Variety, Blond it is described as a “flawed but haunting” biopic anchored in a performance of “dazzling brilliance, imagination, directness and angst”.
A synopsis for the film reads: “Blond boldly reimagines the life of one of Hollywood’s most enduring icons, Marilyn Monroe. From her volatile childhood as Norma Jeane, through her rise to stardom and her romantic entanglements, Blonde blurs the lines of fact and fiction to explore the widening divide between her public and private selves. ”.
Blond premieres on Netflix on September 23.