Original Blonde author Joyce Carol Oates has defended the new Ana de Armas biopic.
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The Netflix film, which “blurs the lines of fact and fiction” on Marilyn Monroe’s life, has proved divisive since its release last week. While de Armas’ performance has been praised, many have suggested that the film is exploitative of Monroe.
Oates, who wrote the book that the film is based on, came to its defence by calling it a “brilliant work of cinematic art obviously not for everyone”.
“I think it was/is a brilliant work of cinematic art obviously not for everyone,” she tweeted. “Surprising that in a post #MeToo era the stark exposure of sexual predation in Hollywood has been interpreted as ‘exploitation’. Surely [director] Andrew Dominik meant to tell Norma Jeane’s story sincerely.”
I think it was/is a brilliant work of cinematic art obviously not for everyone. surprising that in a post#MeToo era the stark exposure of sexual predation in Hollywood has been interpreted as "exploitation." surely Andrew Dominik meant to tell Norma Jeane's story sincerely. https://t.co/YCehGfskds
— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) September 30, 2022
Blonde, which also stars the likes of Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale and Julianne Nicholson, originally received an NC-17 rating in the US, which recommends that no-one under 18 should see the film.
Responding to the controversy, de Armas told L’officiel USA: “I didn’t understand why that happened. I can tell you a number of shows or movies that are way more explicit with a lot more sexual content than Blonde.
“But to tell this story it is important to show all these moments in Marilyn’s life that made her end up the way that she did. It needed to be explained. Everyone [in the cast] knew we had to go to uncomfortable places. I wasn’t the only one.”
In NME’s four-star review of Blonde, Gary Ryan wrote: “If you’re expecting an accurate, multifaceted biography of Monroe, you’ll be sorely disappointed by Blonde, which doesn’t particularly have much to say about the star other than a surface-level Freudian ‘daddy issues’ interpretation.
“However, viewed as a fever-dream psychological horror about somebody unravelling, and how fame is the mask that eats the face, it’s dizzyingly audacious filmmaking.”