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

Even if “Blonde,” written and directed by Andrew Dominic, had offered a sympathetic and understanding view of Marilyn Monroe’s personal life, it would have been a cinematic disaster. The film is ridiculously vulgar—the Monroe story as if it were channeled through Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ.” The character relentlessly endures an overwhelming series of torments, which, far from arousing fear and pity, reflect a special kind of directed sadism. In an attempt to ease the protagonist’s sufferings, “Blonde” gets into them. It portrays Monroe as her times, her surroundings, and her fate, turning her into the filmmaker’s own game. The subject of the film is the distortion of Monroe’s personality and artistry by Hollywood studio executives and actors; To tell that story, Dominic repeats it in practice.

“Blonde,” adapted from the eponymous novel by Joyce Carol Oates, has the same idea: that, throughout her life, Monroe suffered. Child Norma Jean Mortensen (played by Lily Fisher) is a victim of her father, who never wanted her; his mother (Julian Nicholson), who is mentally ill; Neighbors who take him to an orphanage. As a young woman, she falls prey to photographers who take pictures of her in the nude. As Marilyn Monroe (Ana de Armas), she is the victim of a studio boss, Mr. Z (David Warshofsky), who rapes her and then rewards her with roles; an agent who crafts his personality and forces him to conform to it; Producers and directors who underpay her and stereotype her as sexy and dumb; Her two lovers in a threesome, who use and abuse her trust. She is the victim of two of her husbands during her years of fame: Joe DiMaggio (Bobby Cannavale), who doesn’t want her to work, is overly jealous, and is physically abusive; and Arthur Miller (Adrien Brody), who vampirizes her for her work. She is sexually assaulted by President John F. Kennedy (Casper Phillipson); She is abused by the Secret Service on her behalf. (The film does not name DiMaggio or Kennedy, but clearly identifies them from their traits and their roles in Monroe’s life.)

The paparazzi and the press interfere in her personal life. Fans adoring him have been scolding his sexuality on screen and perversions demanding grateful adoration of him in public appearances. They mistake her Marilyn Monroe persona for her real self, even though she considers it a pure product for public consumption, which has little to do with her true personality. The symbolic moment of the film shows him looking at a photo of himself in a magazine of Marilyn Monroe and saying, “She’s beautiful, but that’s not me.” Yet the film doesn’t come close to suggesting who, in fact, is the real person.

The film stars Marilyn as a thrillingly talented actor who delves deep into personal experience and emotional memory to deliver performances of a shocking intensity, long before her experience with the Actors Studio. It also indicates that Hollywood provides little outlet for that artistry, and instead, turns it into roles focused on its sexual attractiveness. It presents her as a well-read, thoughtful, and practical actor whose artistic ideal and dream remains theatre, and – in the film’s best scene – she explains why. During her first date with DiMaggio, she tells him that she wants to leave Hollywood for New York, to study acting, learn to be a great actress, and do theater (above all, Chekhov), because acting in films is. cut cut cut.” She adds, “It’s a puzzle, but you’re not the one to put the pieces together.” It’s true that acting in films and on stage are completely different, and what’s good at one doesn’t necessarily suit the other. “Blonde” does not show the difference, but only claims it; The film only blinks and nods in the general direction of what Marilyn would have achieved on stage.

The movies may well be “cut cut cut,” and Dominic inflicts some uniquely ruthless take on Merlin’s character. She is supposed to be a major moment of theatrical excitement in Marilyn’s first class at the Actors Studio, where she is put on stage to read the lead role in a play by Miller, who is there, watching suspiciously, of the Hollywood diva’s potential. doubtful about. play a complex role for his satisfaction. Instead, she elicits tears of emotion and emotion from the wild applause from her classmates and Miller’s stunned admiration. But that performance itself? Not even a second of it is shown.

To tell the story of the distortion of Monroe’s personality and artistry, “Blonde” repeats it in practice.

Nothing about Monroe’s politics in real life, including her defiance of the press and studio to marry Miller (who was asked by the House Un-American Activities Committee to testify about her former ties to the Communist Party). was called), his conversion to Judaism, and his own activism (including against nuclear weapons). Nothing about the control Monroe took over her career by creating a production company to choose and develop her own projects; Nothing beats her initial enthusiasm for films or exploration of modelling. (The film moves from Norma Jean’s visit to the orphanage to the rapid montage of photos of teenagers in magazines.) Her attempts to escape poverty and hard labor, nothing more than her serious and thoughtful attempts to develop her career Is; Not a word about Monroe’s hard work as an actress, or her obsessive reliance on her acting coach Natasha Lytes for seven or eight years. In short, Monroe’s dedication to his art and focus on his business has anything to do with the least marginalized.

The film emphasizes through a handful of scenes that Marilyn’s character is an intelligent and insightful actor, yet “Blonde” reduces scenes to an allusive, forensic minimum in which she expresses sharp thoughts and sensible thoughts. For example, Marilyn says, during her horrific visit to JFK in a hotel room, that there is nothing sexual about their relationship. But what happened between them before the encounter in which he attacks her is completely absent. If she had a social life other than her relationships with men, whether Kennedy, DiMaggio, Miller, or a pair of lovers—Charlie Chaplin, Jr. (Xavier Samuel), and Edward G. Robinson, Jr. (Evan Williams), whom she is featured in a threesome with—Dominic is not interested.

The problem is not what Dominic doesn’t envision but what he does. He directs as if he defines poetry as using ten vague words where three clear words would suffice, and then transfers that misconception to images. To gauge the sense of subjectivity about Merlin’s state of mind, he relies on images that are out of focus (but not so much that they are actually indistinct), a soundtrack that submerges the voices in aqueous merch. gives (but not completely) to underline emotion without developing slow-motion sequences, a palette that flips back and forth between color and black and white (her life sometimes allows her to play a movie. Sounds like—get it?).

But with Dominic’s more gaudy and demonstrative tricks such floppy approximations are trivial. When Marilyn gets pregnant, it’s one of the most sophomoric effects I’ve seen. She spends an evening outside with two juniors, talking astrology, watching the sky full of stars that start to move and then transform into squiggles. Her fetus is then shown in the womb, and that fetus repeatedly returns to the film, in CGI fetal mistakes, which eventually involve her talking to him. Marilyn gets a miscarriage to star in “Gentlemen Like Blondes”; This is painful, as is a later miscarriage and another, vaguely suggested postpartum miscarriage. Through all of these episodes, poignancy and subjectivity are used coercively and ruthlessly. The above-and-outside view of Marilyn’s vagina toward the abortionist exposes Dominic’s own violations and abuse of the character’s body. Between such quirkiness and such obscenity, D’Armas’ performance alone, energetic and nuanced, gives the film a degree of dignity.

Other such effects and gimmicks throughout the film trivialize its apparent import and ridiculous its grisly anguish. For example, when Kennedy comes into Marilyn’s mouth, the TV in her room shows a rocket explosion and a clip of shots (seemingly taken from “Earth vs. the Flying Saucer”) in which the alien spacecraft Washington Explodes against the Monument and the Capitol. , Marilyn’s lifelong search for her father ends in her face – the face of the man her mother called her father – being projected into the sky at the time of her death. When songs from Marilyn’s films are clipped to the soundtrack, they feature the words “Daddy” as in “Ladies of the Chorus” and “Baby” from “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”. You have to hand it to Dominic: he surpasses the classic Hollywood ostentatious showman not only in artistic ambition, but also in cheapness, brazen tastelessness, and sexual abuse. I

Source link