Blonde: Fact or Fiction?

I’ve not yet seen Blonde, based on the novel by Joyce Carol Oates in which she admittedly wrote details not grounded in truth or fact.

I will see it because it’s important to be informed and to spread the true story of Marilyn, and also this film.

What’s most important to know and remember: Blonde is not a biopic. It’s fiction. It is not the story of Marilyn Monroe’s life. 

Blonde is a work of fiction. While many of the characters portrayed here have some counterparts in the life and times of Marilyn Monroe, the characterizations and incidents presented are totally the product of the author’s imagination. Accordingly, Blonde should be ready solely as a work of fiction, not as biography of Marilyn Monroe.

Oates, Joyce Carol, Blonde, HarperCollins, 2000

Critic reviews of the film are not good. Below is merely a sampling of the many reviews slamming the film.

‘Blonde,’ the new Marilyn Monroe biopic, is an exercise in exploitation, not empathy

“Blonde” Is “The Passion of the Christ” for Marilyn Monroe

The CGI Talking Fetus in ‘Blonde’ Is an Abomination

Blonde film review: A ‘hellish rereading of the Marilyn myth’

We know Andrew Dominik, Blonde’s director, has exploited Marilyn even further. He portrays her as eternally broken, devoid of happiness, and engaged in a constant struggle with herself that she cannot wait to end. Worse yet, he uses her in vulgar, violent sex acts. He shows her in a three-way sex scene. He shows her performing oral sex on President John F. Kennedy, (including an utterly sophomoric approach at artistry by showing a rocket launching on a television in the room as JFK climaxes). He shows her topless throughout most of the film. Shockingly, the film shows a fetus speaking to Marilyn from her own womb before it is aborted. He actually portrays multiple abortions, one of which ends up with Marilyn covered in blood. The death scene was shot in the same bedroom where Marilyn took her last breath. The list goes on. This film is a travesty and an abomination. It is based on lies.

You may feel compelled to watch it when released on Netflix this week. Friends of mine who’ve seen it say they were left shaken, devastated, and disturbed. Nonetheless, guests at the Venice Film Festival viewing gave it a 14-minute standing ovation.

If you do plan to see it, I encourage you to also watch, either before or after, one of the many films in which Marilyn displayed her talents and magic onscreen. See Marilyn in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire, or Some Like it Hot. They showcase her incredible comedic abilities. For a dramatic turn watch her in Don’t Bother to Knock or Niagara, true examples of film noir where Marilyn easily holds her own. Finally, Seven Year Itch and Bus Stop demonstrate Marilyn’s diverse talents in true character acting. Of course, there are many others.

Yes, she had challenges and demons in life, but there were many happy times too. In the end she conquered the world and became a legend. She gave us, her fans, the best she had to give. Watch the real Marilyn in her own films to help keep you grounded amidst this chaos. Remember who she was and what she brought.

While Blonde tears her down, we can lift her up using our voice. We can post photos watching the real Marilyn in her films and we can share statements of support for her. If you join in, be sure to tag those who are responsible for our outrage.

I will do a full review of the film after I see it on Netflix later this week.