For anyone who has already seen the new Netflix Marilyn Monroe film Blonde, it will be self-evident that Andrew Dominik’s take on the life of a 20th-century icon doesn’t abide by the normal conventions of a biopic. Daring and experimental, the film has already sparked outrage from Netflix users, with multiple people branding one scene in particular as “horrifying”.
Adapted from Joyce Carol Oates’s fictional book about the actor, released in 2001, the new film is thought to be a biopic, but, in reality, the opposite is true. Many events in the book have been fictionalised, with such scenes acting as imagined scenes of grandeur or terror from the perspective of Monroe. One such scene has been accused of going too far, and if you’ve seen the film, you would be surprised which one it is.
The scene features John F Kennedy, the US president from 1961-1963, who was rumoured to be having an affair with Monroe throughout his tenure. Whilst rumours of their relationship were never confirmed, the scene doubles down and includes a graphic moment between the two characters.
Near the end of the film, Monroe is taken to a man who physically resembles the president and, whilst he speaks on the phone refuting claims of sexual assault, forces the actor to have sex with him.
Since there is no record of this incident ever taking place, some have taken to social media to claim that the depiction of the actor is a “character assassination”, as well as an “exploitation” of the actor’s already tumultuous story. Receiving many complaints from both viewers and critics, Blonde looks to be something of a misfire from Netflix. Though perhaps it’s a little too early to tell.
Meanwhile, lead star Ana de Armas has talked to the press about the explicit. nature of the film, stating, “I understood what I was doing and I felt very protected and safe…I didn’t feel exploited because I was in control. I made that decision. I knew what the movie was doing. I trusted my director. I felt like I was in a safe environment”.