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‘Blonde’ Director Fully Misses the Point With Awful Response to Criticism

Ana de Armas, as Marilyn Monroe, sits on a couch with a newspaper in her hand.

Director Andrew Dominik’s film Blonde was torn apart by critics who were turned off by the trauma porn aspect of the story, at the inability and lack of desire to truly understand one of the greatest stars of the past hundred years. Yet, he still presents it as if the audience just missed something.

During a speaking engagement in Saudi Arabia, the Hollywood Reporter describes Dominik as saying, “Now we’re living in a time where it’s important to present women as empowered, and they want to reinvent Marilyn Monroe as an empowered woman. That’s what they want to see, and if you’re not showing them that, it upsets them.”

He also went on to bite back against the idea that the film “exploited” her, “What they really mean is that the film exploited their memory of her, their image of her, which is fair enough. But that’s the whole idea of the movie. It’s trying to take the iconography of her life and put it into service of something else, it’s trying to take things that you’re familiar with, and turning the meaning inside out. But I don’t want to make bedtime stories.”

This is a very overly simplistic and unfair response to criticism. The average person may know nothing about Monroe as a human being, but anyone with access to Wikipedia can see her actions to support Civil Rights. The work she put into her image and her singing and acting. That she was more than just some daddy issues-starved woman who existed to be assaulted and then tormented by the ghosts of aborted fetuses. I don’t need a bedtime story about Marilyn Monroe, but it is not artful to show her being tormented for nearly three hours.

Empowerment doesn’t have to look one way all the time. Many blonde bombshells had to exist in a sexist world that maintained control over them, yet those who desired to make something for themselves in the industry sacrificed to make it happen. Marilyn made something for herself despite sexism, despite being limited by societal constraints. There is no need to pretend that we are asking her to be depicted as a full-on second-wave feminist, but she still started her own production company.

Biopics should not be saccharine sweet nothings that whitewash their subjects, but creating a nightmare doesn’t mean you gave a figure depth.

(via HuffPo, image: Netflix)

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Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.