Netflix’s “Blonde” portrays Marilyn Monroe in a mediocre way

Netflix’s newest original movie proves to be unappealing to many audiences due to confusing details and stylistic elements.

Instead of seeing clips of Marilyn Monroe’s movies, movie scenes were recreated by Ana de Armas with the occasional vocals of Vanessa Lemonides.


Instead of seeing clips of Marilyn Monroe’s movies, movie scenes were recreated by Ana de Armas with the occasional vocals of Vanessa Lemonides.

By Prianca Waters

Her house is on fire, everything set aflame except for a beige wicker dresser. A black rotary phone is ringing in one of the drawers, the same phone that has haunted her since her childhood, which would only bring the worst of news if she chose to answer.

A baby is crying. A callback to how her own infancy was described, this baby lives in another drawer of the dresser. Norma Jean watches in horror as this plays out in her head, further amplified by the drugs she has been using more and more frequently.

Netflix’s “Blonde” is a fictional drama that focuses on the life of Norma Jean, highlighting significant events in her life, such as her abusive childhood, her modeling and uprising acting career, and her affairs with three husbands and other men. Paralleling her regular life, Jean goes by the name of Marilyn Monroe in her career and work life. Filled with nudity, sexual assault and content, domestic abuse, and drug use, the NC-17 rating, the first one Netflix has ever given for a Netflix Original, is justified.

Though “Blonde” does well at telling the horrifying stories inspired by Marilyn Monroe’s life, it has some inconsistencies, odd transitions, and story aspects that do not fit with the rest of the film. Ana de Armas does a fantastic job playing Jean, the person behind Monroe, yet these story and design elements take away from her performance and the movie as a whole.

“Blonde” includes symbolism in its transitions, with a shift between grayscale and color to represent the difference between Monroe and Jean. The screen transitions into a pale, bright white light that is used in the negative parts of Jean’s life; similarly, fire represents both Jean’s and her unborn kids’ childhood.

These elements have inconsistencies that confuse the viewer as they are watching the film. The black and white screen is not constant with her life as it is used in a scene of Jean’s childhood, even though all other scenes of her youth are in color. For the light, it is easy to see a connection when people see the scenes that contain it, but it may be difficult to interpret such scenes, especially since other transitions are yet it is more difficult to grasp the exact meaning, especially compared to scenes with obvious transitions.

Additionally, a partial narration is included with two different narrators, Jean and her father. Jean’s father’s absence has a large impact on her life. It is odd, however, that this man, who has never met his daughter, is commenting and providing narration about her. Also, the narration is only utilized about four times throughout the duration of the movie, making it feel out of place when it occurs.

While “Blonde” is not factual, many themes of the story are executed well. Monroe struggles with not being taken seriously as an actor, she is extremely sexualized, and she struggles to deal with the differences between Monroe and Jean.

The end of this story is difficult to stay with. The viewer is bombarded with negativity and desparate for the movie to end for Monroe’s sake. Since there is no break in this wall of negative, it is difficult to stay attached until the end.

“Blonde” has great acting, but some inconsistencies and visual aspects of it bring its quality down. This is not a movie for everyone. Monroe fans are unlikely to enjoy the movie due to its fictional qualities, younger audiences would not see it because of its NC-17 rating, and people who are not fans of Monroe are not likely to watch it either. “Blonde” had its interesting aspects, but it is not the most enjoyable movie to watch.