This is the film with Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe / Norma Jeane. Julianne plays Norma Jeane’s deeply disturbed mother.
The Ana de Armas pictures are here.
Ana de Armas created an uncanny portrayal of MM. I especially loved the scene when she tells Arthur Miller things he didn’t know about his own play. Adrian Brody also did a great job in that scene, portraying Miller at first suspicious of, and utterly flabbergasted by, Marilyn’s erudite comments, then completely moved by her insightful grasp of the characters.
Arthur Miller disappointed Marilyn and betrayed her trust, but he came off better than Joe DiMaggio and JFK, who are portrayed as a couple of complete douchebags. A callous JFK treats Marilyn like a sex slave. Joltin’ Joe, although he seems to care for MM in his way, is a simple, jealous, paternalistic brute who slaps her around.
Despite great performers like de Armas, Brody and Bobby Cannavale, I wasn’t crazy about the film, which is too long in general, and contains several individual scenes that seem to drag on long after they have made their points. And those are often hypothetical or purely imaginary points, since the film is not a Marilyn Monroe biopic. In fact, it bears only a superficial resemblance to her life story. Slate did a good job of covering the differences between this film and reality. Blonde is a combination of facts, speculation, and pure invention, based on a novel by Joyce Carol Oates. The names of her famous lovers and husbands are never even mentioned in the credits, although their identities are obvious. They are credited as “the ex-athlete,” “the playwright,” and “the President.” The underlying essence of the film is that Marilyn spent her life with an aching emptiness over her missing father, and that her long-term relationships always reflected her search for a father figure.
By the way, the identity of her biological father has been quite convincingly determined by DNA. It was a studio executive named Charles Stanley Gifford. That was no great surprise. Gifford was Marilyn’s mother’s boss. According to some reports, Marilyn probably knew that he was her father, because she allegedly made repeated efforts to contact him and was always rebuffed. That parentage means that Marilyn was a direct descendant of John Alden, a famous historical figure who came over on the Mayflower, and whose marriage to a fellow colonist was immortalized in a famous poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “The Courtship of Miles Standish.” Other descendants of Alden include John Adams, Orson Welles, and the aforementioned Longfellow, so Marilyn was in good company. (Other distant relatives include Dan Quayle, Julia Child, Jodie Foster and Raquel Welch.)
The film’s sensationalistic NC-17 rating seems totally unnecessary. There is a fellatio scene (no visible penis), and much sex and nudity, but there is nothing that you might not see in any R-rated film. On the other hand, TV Insider thinks the NC-17 was justified, not by one or two moments, but by the overwhelming impact of scene after scene.