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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Holy Cross chapter.

I have already seen several Tik-Toks of people coming out saying that Blonde did not do Marilyn Monroe justice. So, finally, I decided to watch it for myself. Blonde scripts the story of  how Norma Jean became the icon Marilyn Monroe, played by Ana de Armas.

Blonde seamlessly transitioned from color to black and white throughout the film, and was an interesting style form, yet also slightly confusing. At first, I thought it was trying to show the unseen/hidden or depressing moments within Marilyn’s life compared to the happy or surface level events of her life. The flim hops from the moments where she is her true authentic self as Norma and when she is her “persona”,Marilyn. This is where I find difficulty finding the accuracy. Maybe the black and white are scenes are details that we do not know of, and the color scenes are scenes we know happened. I am still not exactly sure what the purpose of the switch is, but the moments when the film is in black and white she is glowing on the screen. Even within the most depressing scenes, there seems to be this facade that is reflected by Marilyn literally shining on screen.

The film immediately outlines the industry and what women face of being oversexualized and assaulted. It frames the dangers of women and the perceptions men have of exceptionally beautiful women very well during that time period. The film also touches upon career difficulties that women still face today such as pay gaps and having a career while wanting to have a family. With this being said, anyone who has faced any similar trauma should be aware of what they are getting themselves into when watching this film. Even further, everyone else should be prepared to be sick to their stomach at some of the scenes. The film is raw with emotion, as it focuses on Marilyn’s psychological trauma and need to be loved. Her desire or desperation comes from being abandoned, betrayed, and used, and while it is heartbreaking, I think the director’s way of showing this was very well done.

There are multiple scenes that really show the male gaze. One in particular discusses the famous white dress and how all the men gawked as her dress was lifted; however, the second it is back on, they properly all turn away. While this scene is an expected one, and quite iconic, I think it still made a significant statement. This well known concept did a great job portraying the way in which women were perceived back then, and in some ways, still are today.

Ana de Arma’s acting honestly surprised me. I was not expecting this kind of performance from her and honestly, I was unsure how she would fit into this character. Throughout watching, I can definitively say she truly fit into the role and her acting made me feel every scene more. Her acting was raw and well done, especially for someone portraying an abused woman within the film industry. Unfortunately, I do agree with the critiques that I am not sure if all of the Monroe scenes were done to the best it could have been. While watching the movie. I kept forgetting that it was about Marilyn because some parts didn’t fully seem to fit. I thought it was more of an original story rather than a historical reenactment. I would much rather watch a documentary about Monroe and prefer if there were new stories filled with all of these issues in a new character.

Another issue with the film that came after its series of reviews was the questioning of accuracy. (SPOILER!) The entire abortion scene is purely an assumption as apparently her body had no signs of any previous procedures, noted in Michelle Vogel’s novel Marilyn Monroe: Her Films, her life. The only thing confirmed were her many miscarriages. I also question other depictions within the film and if it is real or not.

The focus on the baby took up a majority of the film. While I am not saying it should not have, I feel it took away from focusing on Marilyn’s well known issues and life story, which is what the movie was advertised as. For example, I do think the film should have touched on the fact that she had to continue to work with her rapists throughout the film (as the assistant was still there and she even had to sit next to him at all her premiers). Critiques have even speculated that the heavy focus on her miscarriages, especially the 2 forced abortions shown in the film, could be pro-life propaganda. Removing the politicized discussion around women’s rights and focusing on the pure emotion of a woman who wants to have a child could have avoided this controversial speculation. Further, it could’ve copped the filmmakers more credit for accuracy. The film does depict the depression that follows these traumatizing events, which has nothing to do with political discussion. Aside from this, the gruesome scenes were quite authentic and aggressive which is why people seem to feel passionate that it was added as pro-life propaganda. Especially for the timing of the film, the film’s emphasis on this caused all this speculation. The focus turned from the woman, which is ultimatly the one affected and should be the one the film focuses, on since Monroe had many miscarriages, to the feelings of the fetus.

Blonde is about a woman constantly trying to turn into someone that the public desires in that moment, in order to be loved and feel needed. While these facts cause the audience to empathize with Marilyn, in some ways it almost makes them question her. The film raises questions on what happiness means, mental illness, drug abuse, deep deep flaws within our society, and views of women. There were definitely bad stylistic choices (like adding in fetus shots) and to be honest, I was expecting a lot more out of the almost three hour film – it was hard to finish.

Colette Offermann

Holy Cross '23

Colette is currently pursuing an English major and minoring in Studio Art and Social Ethics and Business at Holy Cross. On her free days she loves to paint abstract works, try out new recipes, play tennis, go to wine tastings, and experience new activities within her community such as new restaurants and boutiques.