Blonde (2022) Review
Creative liberties are taken in every biopic you’ve ever watched. How they get woven into the truth, and how far a filmmaker takes them depends on what type of movie they’re looking to deliver. Blonde takes creative and artistic liberties so far that it can’t be called a biopic at all.
To be fair, this movie is based on a biographical fiction novel of the same name, so it isn’t the intention to provide a totally accurate account of Marilyn Monroe’s life. The real problem lies in the fact that with a nearly three-hour runtime, this film tells us little more than the surface-level details we already knew about her. All the big life events you know are here, surrounded by an abundance of gorgeously shot, but shallow filler.
There’s no doubt that director Andrew Dominik has an eye for creativity, and perhaps with a little restraint, his unconventional storytelling may have been an asset. He gets too caught up in creating glossy, overly-stylized sequences and imagery, resulting in a movie that often looks stunning, but lacks substance. The entire thing collapses under its own ambition, leaving us with bits and pieces of a better movie.
Ana De Armas, however, delivers a performance with tremendous substance. Yes, she still has her Cuban accent, but her portrayal of Monroe is so captivating that it’s barely noticeable. The way she separates Norma Jean from Marilyn is exceptionally acted, and easily one of Blonde’s most intriguing creative approaches. The way Hollywood exploited and sexualized Monroe is horrifying, but De Armas conveys that emotional damage beautifully.
Blonde is a bit like reading the headlines about Monroe, but not the full articles. It will grab your attention, but there’s no real substance beyond that. Ana De Armas dazzles as Marilyn Monroe, but her performance deserves better than the pretentious movie surrounding it.
Review by: Benjamin Garrett