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Movie Review: We watched #BlondeNetflix the latest story about Hollywood legend Marilyn Monroe, here’s how that went

Grab the issues because the latest instalment in the saga to profit off of the life of Marilyn Monroe is here and it is far more traumatic than ever before. Blonde directed by Brad Pitt officially dropped on Netflix today and we’ve got your first review.

Notable: parental advisory here this film may not be suitable for all audiences. If watching with young ones please exercise parental caution.

CAUTION: This film shows scenes depicting the rape of Marilyn Monroe. It would not have been called rape back then but in today’s times, Marilyn Monroe absolutely was a victim of numerous sexual assaults. Parts of this film are fictionalized others do not exercise this with what you will as you watch.

For as long as Hollywood history goes the legend of Marilyn Monroe has pretty much existed alongside Hollywood. Blonde (starring Ana De Armas) goes pretty in-depth about Monroe, perhaps, one of the best-known cautionary tales about Hollywood that likely will ever be told. Marred by childhood neglect; abuse, a psychologically ill mum, Monroe’s earliest known life is equal part shocking as it was unbelievably heartbreaking.


CAUTION: Several scenes include partial or nearly full nudity.

Early on, Marilyn appeared as the story goes to know that her mum was in fact struggling deeply with mental illness. However, it wasn’t until her mum attempts to drown her in a bathtub that she goes next door to inform her neighbours of what happened. A declaration that led to the discovery that her mum in fact suffered from a host of mental issues and mood disorders that would land her hospitalized for much of her life.

FACT OR FICTION: According to history, Marilyn Monroe’s mother Gladys Baker was in fact institutionalized throughout her life. Struggling with various disorders including mood disorders and schizophrenia, she didn’t quite understand who or what her daughter was after she was initially hospitalized. This often resulted in Monroe (then Norma Jeane) being in out of orphanages and various foster homes until she married at the age of 16.

Based on the 2000 novel by the same name written by Joyce Carol Oates the film isn’t intended to be entirely historically accurate but a modern tale at the rise and eventual demise of what was the biggest star in the world during the 19th century. Blonde also explores what was the early depiction of sexism and the fight over equal pay in Hollywood. An intriguing part of Marilyn ‘s story is that she experienced the war over equal pay during a time which the topic didn’t get much traction. It’s interesting because Monroe had the gall and the brave to defend herself over the fact studios only wanted to pay her about $5,000 when her counterpart Jane Russell was demanding nearly $100,000 but ended up being paid north of $200,000 as the story goes.

FACT OR FICTION: When it came to Gentleman Prefer Blondes, the blonde being Monroe, she was paid a total of about $5,000. Meanwhile, across the Hollywood spectrum Jane Russell a brunette was paid about $200,000. This upset Monroe in her final interview before her death where she actually pointed this out herself quite a few times. You can read that interview here.

Did Marilyn Monroe have an abortion?

Throughout the film, it becomes evident that Monroe is desperate to be the one thing she never quite had: a mum. Although never confirmed it has been widely suspected that she probably had multiple abortions throughout her life. Though these would’ve been long before abortion ever became such a topic and a time they were probably considered much more taboo than they would have in recent times. The film touches on a very disturbing and troubling scene where Monroe is ‘forcibly’ led by her handlers to an abortion clinic against her will where she appears to escape before the scene is cut off.

What about that infamous threesome scene?

Many probably recognized the face in the movie as that of what was supposed to be Charlie Chaplin Jr. Back in 1947, as legend has it Monroe allegedly had an affair (a throuple as it is now known) with Chaplin Jr and an associate. While never actually confirmed in real life, an autobiography in existence actually grazes the subject and it is called Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe.

What about the studio scene?

This is what we now know as the casting ‘couch’ that later on decades later in fact brought down Harvey Weinstein and was common among actresses even to this day unfortunately as we learned with the #MeToo movement.

What about her affairs with none other than JFK himself?

This one most are probably aware of if you’re old enough to know who Monroe is or may have been alive when she was. It has long been established and understood that Monroe likely had a long-term affair with JFK while he was President. It is also alleged that Monroe had a second affair with his brother Robert. Conspiracy theories have long held that the Kennedy ‘s were behind the death of Monroe however that has never been confirmed. Much of her affair became alleged public knowledge after her infamous and steamy Happy Birthday Mr President performance to JFK himself.

Ana De Armas comments on the shocking rape scenes in the movie (there are a few)

Telling Variety about depicting the sex scenes and rape scenes in frank ways.

“We’re telling her story from her point of view. I’m making people feel what she felt. When we had to shoot these kinds of scenes, like the one with Kennedy, it was difficult for everybody,” she said. “But at the same time, I knew I had to go there to find the truth.”

Final Score: B-

Final comments: While overly dramatized at times, Blonde most certainly is done quite well but Netflix could’ve done well with a warning when the movie starts. While grim and often dark Blonde does struggle at times to keep up with the tumultuous life of Marilyn herself. At times it seems like the film intentionally touched on things that otherwise have largely been left out of previous adaptions of Monroe’s life whether dramatized or not. For this, we also have to reaffirm that this film is absolutely NC-17 and not intended for younger audiences.

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