Why is Netflix’s Blonde receiving so much criticism?

Blonde, starring Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe, is one of the most highly-anticipated films of 2022. The biopic, which is Netflix‘s first production with an 18+ rating, is a fictional retelling of Marilyn Monroe’s life, covering everything from her marriages to her untimely death in 1962. 

While Ana de Armas has described the film as a “daring, unapologetic and feminist take on [Marilyn’s] story”, and she looks incredible as the Hollywood icon, the film has also received plenty of criticism for its sensationalist depiction of the late star’s life. 

Many have argued that we are seeing way too many stories of exploited women getting the Hollywood treatment. Biopics and documentaries of the late Brittany Murphy and Whitney Houston have received criticism, as did Pam & Tommy, which focused on the sex tape scandal that Pamela Anderson lived through.

So we’ve dived deep into the controversy surrounding the movie – here are all the key elements of the Blonde backlash.

It doesn’t necessarily follow Marilyn’s real life, even though it’s presented as a biopic

Because Blonde is based on a book of fiction by author Joyce Carol Oates, many have argued that adapting for screen creates a strange misconception of what Monroe’s life was actually like, especially as the film is being described as a biopic, even though it is decidedly not based on a biographical account of her life.

Oates herself has openly admitted to “distilling” certain events of Monroe’s life, with details being rearranged and invented to suit the story. For example, the book (and film) explores a conspiracy theory that Monroe was killed by former US Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. The film also reportedly includes a scene where she is raped by a Fox studio head, which again is only known as a work of fiction.

For a person’s life events to be manipulated in this way has left some people uncomfortable.

One fan has tweeted: “Blonde is heavily based on a FICTIONAL book about marilyn monroe that will go to feed the public more lies about her. this is NOT a biopic”.

A critic has taken issue with reviewing it

Due to the controversial content of the film, critic Grace Randolph announced earlier this year that should we not be covering the film “in any capacity”, calling the adult content film’s presentation as a biography “pretty appalling” and “sick fantasy”.

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Blonde‘s director is unapologetic for any offence caused

Andrew Dominik has made it clear that he’s not too bothered if audiences are disturbed by Blonde, which may be stoking the flames of the fire even more as people try to decide what to make of the controversy.