Directed by Andrew Dominik, Blonde is definitely a movie that deserves all the discussion. It is worth discussing that most of what is described in it did not happen and that these unlived ones are portrayed in the harshest way possible. Adapted from the novel by Joyce Carol Oates, the film has been slammed by Monroe fans, journalists, and historians since its release. It is claimed that an exploitation film was made on Monroe, and a drama was created with fake facts, away from reality. I can say that they are all right. But I really liked the movie for that reason alone. I want to explain why.
To briefly touch on the plot of the film… In the movie, where we see Monroe’s experiences from childhood to death, we focus on her psychology rather than her movies and fame. The stress imposed on her by being a celebrity, the abusive approach of men towards her, the lack of a father she feels, and her inability to have children are also described as 4 main issues.
Hollywood, in the bigger picture, is the capital of entertainment. A high society cauldron where the streets are full of stars, the silver screens are full of great movies, and the pompous night parties never end. Yes, the 50s were the years when Hollywood dominated the world. Literally thriving. While Europe was dealing with wars, Hollywood produced stars with movies like a machine.
On the other hand, Hollywood was not as beautiful as it seemed like everything else in life. The lights and the big Hollywood sign may be deceiving, but behind the brilliance and camera, there are truths many of us still don’t face. Of course, the first of these is women’s place in the industry. Not only in the industry but also in the 50s, the position of women in society was very different from today. The female figure had to sit at home and wait for her husband. Even if you were lucky and could become a big star, you still had to live under the rule of a man. And the self-confidence that this dominance instilled in men caused ugly things to happen, especially in the film industry.
If you lived in the 50s and dreamed of being famous, the process you had to go through wasn’t always pretty. Many women stopped by the producers’ beds to find roles and were subjected to verbal and physical abuse from the men who made these films on or off the set. Mad Men is actually the best production that describes those periods. It was a time when men saw the right to do whatever they wanted to the woman they wanted with their pants zipper open. While women were sitting at home, the man felt entitled to have sex with any woman they wanted in the closed corners. Especially in the 50s, it was a time when the producers in Hollywood were like generals. With the power of big production companies behind them, whatever they were saying was like imperial order to everyone. Therefore, to be an actor, you had to convince the producers. And the only place to persuade some producers was their beds. And do not reduce it to women. Many men were harassed by the producers at that time.
Marilyn Monroe has been reduced to a “dumb blonde” character all her life. She was aware of that too. Although she tried to escape, her appearance and name were always at the forefront of her personality. When the industry was full of wolves, Monroe couldn’t avoid such harassment. Joyce Carol Oates claims that the contents of her book are fictional, but Monroe has lived through worse than she described. Although we do not have the resources to prove the allegations, we understand from the comments we received from her close friends and circle that life has never been easy for her. And this is not surprising.
Andrew Dominik designed the movie entirely for men. But not in a way that they will enjoy, but in a way that will make them feel ashamed. He wanted to take the most influential female figure of the period like Monroe and tell us that even she was prey to the wolves in this industry. At least, that’s my interpretation. The director, who summarizes the male figure of the period through Monroe, presents a 3-hour film to the men who watch it to be ashamed. Yes, although we know that most of the scenes in the movie are distorted, I can say that they look much more real when we consider the realities of the period.
Actually, Monroe is just a name in the movie. What happened is a summary of a period. The ninth episode of the second season of Mad Men is about Monroe’s death. With her death, we watch the women’s feelings in the episode. While almost all women are disappointed and sad, her death means nothing to men. Because those women are no different from Monroe. They know what she’s been through. Only Monroe was luckier than them. The point where she had endured more than anything else made her a hero in the eyes of everyone. And her death, perhaps, symbolized the end of a struggle.
Obviously, the movie is not a biopic. A teasing that shows what a disgraceful time we’ve come so far. The men shouting at Monroe’s Gentlemen Prefers Blonde premiere and the Instagram filter used in their mouths was perhaps the summary of the entire movie. In my opinion, having to show love to these heinous beings was also the most challenging part of the movie. Ironically, this suffocating whirlpool that the industry has brought women into lasted until 2018. I think this is what we should be ashamed of. Most suggestive is that male harassment in the industry is still alive until the Harvey Weinstein allegations come to light.
To sum it up… Blonde is an offensive film that doesn’t even attempt to describe Monroe but hits us with the realities of an era that we have to face through Monroe. Yes, I think it’s okay for people to get angry. I am aware that all those exaggerated scenes mentioned will be enough to anger the audience. But that’s where the success of the movie comes from. What director meant to convey is exactly what angered people. A narrative of shameful truths in the dark places where the light of the stars does not reach. The director wanted us to experience all the harassment, rape, and attacks that the male-dominated era inflicted on women. Personally, I can say that I felt ashamed while watching the movie and that the film was successful for me at least.
Cast & Crew
director: Andrew Dominik
writers: Andrew Dominik, Joyce Carol Oates
starring: Ana de Armas
USA | 2022 | 166 MINUTES |