Some critics prefer “Blonde.”
The reimagined Marilyn Monroe biopic “Blonde” starring Ana de Armas premiered at the Venice Film Festival Thursday, earning praise from several critics for its portrayal of the 1950s blonde bombshell.
Adapted from the Joyce Carol Oates novel of the same name, the film runs nearly three hours and received a 14-minute standing ovation from the crowd, which caused de Armas to break down into tears, according to Variety.
“Andrew Dominik’s Venice Film Festival competition entry ‘Blonde’ takes a blowtorch to the entire concept of the Hollywood biopic and arrives at something almost without precedent,” Deadline’s critic said.
“[‘Blonde’] is simply inventing fresh indignities for the most positively, permanently persecuted heroine outside of a John Waters movie ever to have to suffer.”
As Netflix’s first film with an NC-17 rating, “Blonde” sparked backlash almost instantly when it debuted its first trailer in July over the casting of de Armas due to the fact that she is Cuban and her accent was not “authentic.”
Variety’s critic Owen Gleiberman disagreed in his review, saying the film is “built around a performance, by Ana de Armas, of breathtaking shimmer and imagination and candor and heartbreak. It’s a luscious piece of acting with a raw scream tucked inside.”
“No actress alive is going to look just like Monroe (de Armas’ eyes are a dead ringer; her smile is a tad less ripe and more knowing), but with Marilyn the voice is everything — that’s where her personality lives — and de Armas nails it to an uncanny degree,” he added.
“In ‘Blonde,’ she gives us nothing less than what we came for. She becomes Marilyn Monroe.”
Despite the high praise, some reviewers found that “Blonde” deprives Monroe of her own urgency.
“This is a portrait of Monroe that accentuates her suffering and anguish, canonizing her into a feminist saint who died for our scopophilic sins,” wrote the Guardian.
“The psychological framework is very old-school Hollywood Freudian, which doesn’t give Monroe herself much agency in her story.”
Other critics were just bored of the topic.
“This is a work of such wild excesses and questionable cruelty that it leaves you wondering how many more times and in how many more creative ways are we going to keep torturing, degrading and killing this abused woman,” slammed the Hollywood Reporter.
Social media users, however, are divided on how to feel about the upcoming film.
“Seeing ‘Blonde’ reviews about that movie being total dogs–ti am grinning from ear to ear,” tweeted one user.
“If ‘Blonde’ truly is a nearly 3-hour showcase for sexual assault (as many early reviews are suggesting) then I don’t think I’m going to be able to watch it,” another said.
“Count me as pro-BLONDE! Any movie taking big swings is going to stumble a bit over 166 minutes, but the underlying project of exploring how Hollywood destroys actresses hits hard. Ana de Armas is terrific,” exclaimed a user.
“BLONDE. Ana de Armas shines in Dominik’s heartbreaking fictional biopic,” tweeted another.
“I did this movie to push myself… to make other people change their opinion about me,” de Armas told the AP. “This movie changed my life.”
“I wasn’t in character all the time. But I felt that. I was living that. I felt that heaviness and that weight in my shoulders. And I felt that sAcesparksess,” she added. “She was all I thought about. She was all I dreamed about. She was all I talked about… It was beautiful.”
“Blonde” is currently set to debut on the silver screen on September 18, 2022, before making its way to Netflix on September 28.