Original title:Blonde
Director:Andrew Dominik
Running time:166 minutes
Release date:16 september 2022
Adapted from Joyce Carol Oates' best-selling book, Blonde is a bold retelling of the story of Marilyn Monroe, one of Hollywood's most timeless icons. From her tumultuous childhood to her meteoric rise and complex love affairs - from Norma Jeane to Marilyn - Blonde blurs the line between fact and fiction to explore the widening gap between her public persona and the person she was in private.

Mulder's Review

Norma Jeane Mortenson, better known as Marilyn Monroe, remains one of the most adored actresses of the Hollywood Golden Age, a true sex symbol of the 1950s and early 1960s and a pop culture icon. A true star of many films of the time, which relied on her sensuality and great beauty, her private life was spread in many tabloids and her three marriages (James Dougherty, Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller) and her relationship with John F. Kennedy's tarnished her image as a Hollywood star. His death of an overdose of barbiturates at his home in Los Angeles at the age of 36 years on August 4, 1962 appears for some as a suicide and an unbalanced life that the film Blonde by Andrew Dominik shows as a waking nightmare far from the glitter of the Hollywood dream.

After three acclaimed films (Chopper (2000), The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007), Killing Them Softly (2012) and two documentaries (One More Time with Feeling (2016), This Much I Know to Be True (2022), Andrew Dominik's new film is not intended to be a faithful biopic showing the journey of a young girl raised in foster homes and an orphanage following the placement of her mother in a mental asylum that became a true fantasy for many viewers. By adapting the novel Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates, the director and screenwriter Andrew Dominik mixes reality and fiction to the point of wondering if this image of Marilyn Monroe is not a way of destroying one of the Hollywood myths and darken even more the portrait of an actress who knew how to find her place in the Hollywood industry of an era in which producers seemed to obey their bestial instincts rather than follow a real moral code. The numerous sex scenes in the film reinforce this idea of the other side of the coin, which is hardly to the credit of Hollywood studio directors or movie sets ready to drug their actors so that they can continue to perform in the spotlight.

Blonde re-imagines the life of one of Hollywood's icons, Marilyn Monroe. From her unstable childhood as Norma Jeane to her rise to stardom and her many romantic relationships, the film blurs the lines between fact and fiction to explore the wide gap between her public and private life. Shot in black and white for most of its scenes but also in color, Blonde is an intense cinematic experience in which the superb actress Ana de Armas delivers one of the strongest roles of her career. After having been a supporting female role in many notable films such as Knock Knock (2015), Blade Runner 2049 (2017), Knives Out (2019), No Time to Die (2021), The Gray Man (2022), she finally gets her first prominent dramatic role after the disappointing Deep Water (2022). If the film Blonde succeeds despite its many flaws to conquer the audience is undoubtedly to the remarkable performance of this actress who deserves an Oscar nomination for best actress.

While we could expect a film about the extraordinary life of an actress who became a real female fantasy for the male spectators of the time, we discover instead a film closer to the horror film or even unhealthy as could be some films of David Lynch (Eraserhead) or to a universe close to a series like Twilight zone by its surrealist scenes showing moments of film shootings or its Dantesque previews in which Marilyn Monroe seems to be offered as a sacrifice to her numerous fans. It comes out of it a confusing film even dangerous for the spectators taking this film as a faithful biopic on Marilyn Monroe. The demystification of the real facts gives to this film a very particular aura and will lead the spectators to wonder if the main will of Joyce Carol Oates was not simply to destroy the image of Marilyn Monroe with erroneous lies or false extrapolation.

The great care given to the photography as well as to the music signed by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis makes Blonde a must-see film of September. The ambition is clearly visible to bring the spectators to question themselves on the backstage of the world of the cinema and on the real appearance of the current stars because as Norma Jeane Mortenson who wonders if Marylin Monroe is not another person taking possession of her body, the world as we see it is often distorted by its deceptive appearances.

Written and directed by Andrew Dominik
Based on Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates
Produced by Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Tracey Landon, Scott Robertson
Starring Ana de Armas, Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale, Xavier Samuel, Julianne Nicholson
Music by Nick Cave, Warren Ellis
Cinematography : Chayse Irvin
Edited by Adam Robinson
Production companies : Plan B Entertainment
Distributed by Netflix
Release date : September 8, 2022 (Venice), September 16 2022 (United States), September 28, 2022 (France)
Running time : 166 minutes

Seen on September 9, 2022 at the Deauville international centre

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