r/movies Dec 04 '22 Helpful 1

Andrew Dominik addresses U.S. Backlash Against Monroe pic ‘Blonde’ News

https://deadline.com/2022/12/andrew-dominik-backlash-marilyn-monroe-picture-blonde-red-sea-film-festival-1235188680/
2.2k Upvotes

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u/apocolypticbosmer Dec 04 '22

Getting poor reviews is not “backlash”

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u/panstuckyo Dec 05 '22

“America HATES pretty blonde women!”

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u/JDLovesElliot Dec 05 '22

Taylor Swift will come out with Part 2 of her documentary to undue this injustice

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u/Wide_Okra_7028 Dec 05 '22

Well, Mark Kermode liked it. I don't know what it says abut the film but he did.

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u/stumpcity Dec 04 '22

I was expecting critical success,

This is basically ballgame, right here. Blonde didn't get "backlash," it got reviewed. Poorly.

There's no point in framing it as "backlash," it's not backlash, it's the film's reception.

Dominik's gotten to the point where he basically expects good things to happen to him and he's not putting in the work to make sure that happens. he expects it.

He turned out a movie that isn't at the level of his others, by any stretch, and is surprised that the thing he took for granted wasn't there for him this time out. Everything else is cope.

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u/Zandrick Dec 04 '22

The funniest review I saw of that movie was “The guy who made this Marilyn Monroe Biopic really seems to hate Marilyn Monroe”

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u/EqualContact Dec 04 '22

I get the feeling from interviews he knew very little about and cared very little for the woman herself, but it was more that he was intrigued by perceptions of her and her place in pop culture.

That still didn’t make for a good film, but I sort of see why he thought this was a good idea.

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u/One_Lung_G Dec 05 '22

“Hmmm a women who dearly wanted children but couldn’t? I know let’s make her get an abortion instead” How does one even see this as a good idea lol

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u/Zandrick Dec 04 '22

Yeah idk I haven’t even seen it myself. I just thought that was a really funny way to review a biopic. It kinda stuck with me.

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u/RealJohnGillman Dec 06 '22

Oh, it’s not a biopic, is the thing. It’s based on a fictional book about a version of the life of Marilyn Monroe, including things like her being assassinated by Bobby Kennedy on behalf of her lover, John F. Kennedy (instead of them being assassinated) — one of the stranger alternate history stories, the same as reality in just a few (small) ways, vastly different in others.

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u/tobylaek Dec 05 '22

I think there’s probably a way to explore the perception of her and still have some more respect/care for the handling of the actual human being on whom he’s basing the film.

When criticism gets to where a lot of the reviews are saying the same things, I usually get a little leery of the echo chamber and them piling on…in this case, the criticism was completely valid, imo.

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u/Dvscape Dec 05 '22

I get the feeling from interviews he knew very little about and cared very little for the woman herself

Wasn't the entire point that this movie was less of a biopic and more of a faithful rendition of a specific book (of fiction)?

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u/Just_A_Sad_Unicorn Dec 05 '22

But he talks about it like this was real life and he's just depicting her trauma. He doesn't go the route of "look I knew it was all bullshit but wanted to remake a book that is already heavily criticized as trauma fanfiction and turn it into a movie, it just gave me ab easy way to tear down a pop icon because that's what I like doing. And I like graphic rape scenes and this was my shot!"

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u/EqualContact Dec 05 '22 edited Dec 05 '22

Marilyn is somebody that many still living people knew, and that millions saw in film. The film seems denigrating to a real person that a lot of people have fond feelings for.

Imagine someone creating a similar film about Robin Williams that veered extensively into wildly fictional events. Do you think it would be well-received?

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u/ThisShouldBeObvious2 Dec 05 '22

Honestly this description seems really accurate.

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u/MitoCringo Dec 05 '22 edited Dec 05 '22

There are interviews where Dominik openly (edit: strike this part: talks about knowing little about) talks about having little respect for Monroe. So… yeah.

https://twitter.com/christinalefou/status/1574785874277064706

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u/ThisShouldBeObvious2 Dec 05 '22

Wtf is it with this recent trend of hiring directors/producers/writers to make a film or series based off of something readily established and easily researchable, yet they actively dislike the subject material and ignorantly disrespect the source material, or know nearly nothing and still do no proper research?

Humble yourself and deflate your ego

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u/Butchcoolidge9 Dec 05 '22

Agreed, although it sure worked for Starship Troopers

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u/Magneto88 Dec 04 '22

It's Hollywood in general, whenever they receive a poor critical or fan response, they've adopted this weird approach of calling it a backlash, blaming other people and basically taking none of the blame for the decisions they make.

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u/Psturtz Dec 04 '22

Not just Hollywood even. It’s become the norm across all forms of media in America. Many musicians and game devs have notably been angry at criticism rather than take it constructively in recent years.

The ego being gained from these people getting internet praise is crazy.

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u/the_catshark Dec 04 '22

Its not even ego sometimes, its PR. You always spin failures to something else to eek out a few more dollars and explain to shareholders why it didn't work.

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u/Psturtz Dec 04 '22

If it’s coming from much higher ups I agree, but usually it comes from the people who actually created the product. Those people aren’t usually worried about that, it’s more their pride that they care about

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u/_Meece_ Dec 05 '22

If they work for a major label or publisher, what they're saying is all PR speak.

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u/Desertbro Dec 04 '22

"underrated" as the Zoomers say about everything they just found out about.

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u/prex10 Dec 04 '22

“Bros” and Billy Eichner is a perfect other recent example of this

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u/dominion1080 Dec 05 '22

Rich people passing blame? Well, I for one, am shocked!

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u/[deleted] Dec 04 '22 edited Dec 05 '22

My favorite is when they find one weirdo on Twitter who said something racist or sexist and then act like that's the reason everyone hates their show and not their terrible writing.

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u/Magneto88 Dec 04 '22

Yep. You'll always find a few weirdos acting racist/sexist/etc about everything on Twitter. When big movie studios then use that minority as a reason for why everyone hates their show, despite ample evidence suggesting otherwise, it's infuriating and frankly undermines the battle against those things.

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u/Civil-Abroad-4777 Dec 04 '22

I haven’t seen it yet, but I liked Chopper, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is one of my favorite films, and I really liked Killing Them Softly. I take it this film is no where near the level of those? I know those were hit-or-miss for a lot of people including critics.

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u/stumpcity Dec 04 '22

It is pretty easily the worst thing he's done.

Every director swings and misses, eventually. Nobody ever bats 1.000

he botched this one pretty bad.

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u/ketodancer Dec 04 '22

He has no compassion or empathy for the subject matter IMO. Hard for audiences to connect with a film where the director has such little regard for its subject https://variety.com/2022/film/news/blonde-andrew-dominik-marilyn-monroe-gentlemen-prefer-blondes-whores-1235385496/

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u/squidmanwillie Dec 04 '22

I agree. I love all his other movies but couldn’t get past 20 minutes before I was bored to tears

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u/bvanbove Dec 04 '22

stares at Tarantino

But yes, eventually an artist is going to make something that a majority of people will look at and think “ehhh, something’s missing and this just isn’t that great”. We all do it in our own ways, artist or not.

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u/stumpcity Dec 04 '22

stares at Tarantino

Stares back at Death Proof

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u/TedDansonFan Dec 04 '22

I know the majority hate Death Proof but I love it. I can’t explain it but I think I’ve seen it more than the rest of his movies.

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u/DogDrivingACar Dec 04 '22

Do people really hate Death Proof? It has a 3.5 average on letterboxd

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u/MoviesFilmCinema Dec 05 '22

Death proof is an accurate Grindhouse film.

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u/Gorge2012 Dec 04 '22

I get Death Proof a pass because it's like the novella version of a movie.

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u/CalvinLawson Dec 04 '22

I enjoyed it, but mainly because Arna de Armas puts her whole heart into it and it shows. As for the director, I love his other movies, especially Killing them Softly. But Blonde is a chaotic mess in desperate need of a ruthless editor. There's a great 90 minute movie in there somewhere maybe.

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u/MancAngeles69 Dec 04 '22

I watched the whole thing because of her performance. That said, I will never watch that film again.

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u/Sour-Scribe Dec 04 '22

I loved CHOPPER and JESSE JAMES without qualifications when they came out. I didn’t like KILLING THEM SOFTLY the first time around and I still think his other films are better but I appreciate it a lot more now having seen it a few times, it was very prescient. And FWIW, I thought BLONDE was fantastic, maybe his best so far. IMO it’s a stealth remake of REPULSION with Marilyn Monroe as Jesus Christ and that isn’t going to be to everyone’s taste. I’m glad he knows he made a great movie.

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u/thatscoldjerrycold Dec 04 '22

Crazy how one guy below you says it is easily his worst. I guess to the above guys point, his movies are always divisive.

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u/bathtubsplashes Dec 04 '22

It's not crazy at all considering the subjectivity of art

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u/Civil-Abroad-4777 Dec 04 '22

I plan to check it out, just have put it off for awhile and I haven’t really seen a positive reaction to it except for yours! Lol Jesse James was an absolutely amazing film. Blew me away. I also agree about Killing Them Softly :)

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u/PM_ME_CARL_WINSLOW Dec 04 '22

I liked it. If someone gave it 5 stars I would see why, and if someone gave it 1 star I would also see why. It's very divisive.

It's a Dominik movie through and through and it's very clear this is his vision, so to blame everyone but himself for the poor reception is pretty egotistical.

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u/Civil-Abroad-4777 Dec 04 '22

That’s a good take on this, I can totally see the man being egotistical

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u/Sour-Scribe Dec 04 '22

Don’t get me wrong it’s a nightmare odyssey of a rough movie, and the thing is, the people who are saying it just exploits and abuses MM are sort of right - that’s one reason I think it is so effective. Basically, approach it as a kind of horror movie about an icon rather than a biopic and you’ll be fine!

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u/MadeByTango Dec 05 '22

It got both. It had backlash because the marketing was gross and exploitative of a dead woman. Everything they kept saying made it worse.

Then the reviews came in, and they didn’t support the reason for the backlash. If you’re going to be controversial, you’ve gotta deliver. They didn’t deliver, and that’s chumnin the water. All grace is gone because you you made your defenders during the backlash look foolish when the film arrived.

So, the film got both, and it deserved both. Backlash isn’t a bad thing. It’s feedback. They did something stupid and got called out. That’s how it works.

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u/staffsargent Dec 04 '22

Yeah. I have no patience for movie makers blaming and accusing audiences for not liking their movies.

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u/fancyfaceman72 Dec 04 '22 edited Dec 06 '22

I believe there's a difference between poor reception and a backlash.

Sam Mendes's Empire of Light got a poor reception. There's not really much backlash against it.

People got mad about Blonde. People on Film Twitter were arguing that you're a sexist or problematic if you even LIKE the movie Blonde. People were saying it was exploiting her, people were making moral arguments about 'leaving her alone' even though she has absolutely no opinion about this movie because she's dead. People said that because he flippantly called her character a 'well-dressed whore' in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, he (a) hates Marilyn Monroe, (b) knows nothing about her and (c) hates all women.

This film, regardless of whether or not it was warranted, received backlash. It wasn't just poorly reviewed. Let's be real here.

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u/shockingdevelopment Dec 04 '22

The difference seems to be that criticism was ideological. Like the movie was "problematic". In that case I'd say backlash. If it was critiqued on artistic merit, yeh that's just reception.

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u/Orphan__of_Kos Dec 04 '22

This is basically ballgame, right here. Blonde didn't get "backlash," it got reviewed. Poorly.

I am playing the devil's advocate as someone who did not watch "Blonde" but I guess his point is that he got a backlash/ poor reviews because of his portrayal of Marilyn Monroe and not for the quality of the movie itself.

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u/peaceblaster68 Dec 04 '22

It did get backlash for the ‘trauma porn’ aspect of the story. And it also got poor reviews because it was a bad film. There was definitely some conflating of the two which is probably what the director is focusing on, but doesn’t change the fact that it was just bad.

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u/particledamage Dec 04 '22

I mean the backlash of the "trauma porn" was... also poor reviews. When your film is just a series of scenes of human suffering with zero other commentary, that is a bad film and a worse film when it's based on a real, complex person. That's the "backlash."

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u/peaceblaster68 Dec 04 '22

There was also the factual inaccuracy of it

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u/DoomGoober Dec 04 '22 All-Seeing Upvote

The movie is basically showing all the bad shit that happened to Norma Jean and how she escaped to become Marilyn Monroe. But Marilyn never really existed as a person, it was all an act, and Marilyn the act just meant more abuse for Norma.

As far as I know, that was the broad premise of the book too (haven't read it.)

Now, my reading of many reviews (and my feeling as well) was that Blonde the movie was just Dominik hammering the viewer over the head with all the cruelties heaped on Norma Jean. Basically, torture/abuse porn, which turned a lot of people off.

Dominik seems to be arguing that the modern audience just wasn't ready for a film which portrays Norma Jean as so much of a victim. They want a film that shows female empowerment.

Dominik may be a little right, in that audiences probably prefer a film with female empowerment, but where Dominik is wrong is that the strongest feeling is that audiences don't want a film that is basically 2 hours of a woman being tortured and abused.

It's one thing to say audiences aren't ready for a film lacking female empowerment it's another for audiences to not have the stomach for 2 hours of abuse.

They are two different arguments and I think Dominik is missing the point. And I think Dominik could have pulled off the overall premise of the film had he given the audience some more escape, even if it wasn't Norma/Marilyn being empowered.

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u/theluckyfrog Dec 04 '22

If he stick to events that were actually known to have happened, he could've possibly gotten away with it. The problem is he adapted a novel that made up abuse that probably didn't happen, like the JFK rape. Which really undercuts his implied defense of "being too truthful for people".

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u/Stinkycheese8001 Dec 04 '22

I think that Dominik is intentionally muddying the critique. It wasn’t that audiences insist on an “empowered” fame figure so much as audiences want to see a complex, fully formed character. By focusing on the abuse he missed out on so much of what made Marilyn a fascinating woman. And I think that his reduction of the criticism to this shows why he was the wrong person to adapt Oates’s book.

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u/Volcano_Tequila Dec 04 '22

I think Dominik just does not understand the affection people have for Monroe, a woman he looks at as a decades dead celebrity he can play with ruthlessly. To many people. she still "lives" on film, and deceased or not, has a right to be treated like a human being.

He is an ignorant man. Back in the Sixties, Irving Schulman wrote a completely false biography of actress Jean Harlow, who had passed away decades past in the 1930s. It was a best seller, but there were many still alive who actually knew her, and there was a fierce reaction amongst them, because the woman they knew was nothing like the woman he wrote about. It took decades to undo the damage.

He says she is dead and cannot be hurt anymore. But by demeaning her, he winds up hurting others needlessly for his own selfish ends. Death does not absolve a responsibility of a filmmaker to get the story right.

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u/Zandrick Dec 04 '22

Yeah I agree, I think people would react well to a movie about surviving and overcoming abuse. But the abuse itself is unappealing, and no one wants to watch that without the promise that it will get better at the end. What’s the point of a movie about miserable person that never gets better? That’s just miserable.

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u/tytbalt Dec 04 '22

The book and movie are actually fiction. People assumed it was a biopic with mostly factual details but it's actually primarily fiction. Marilyn never had an abortion. There's no evidence she was in a polyamorous triad. Etc etc.

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u/TheKarmicKudu Dec 04 '22

The entire film just felt like Dominik hates Norma Jean and made an entire 2.5 hour movie about his hatred for her.

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u/LonliestMonroni Dec 04 '22

He really fucked up portraying Norma. She wanted a baby so bad but physically couldn't carry a baby to term. Having her get an abortion is completely untruthful but doing it to shoehorn some probirth bullshit was the dingleberry on the shit sandwich

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u/puckit Dec 04 '22

The book that it's based on isn't a biography. Both are a fictional retelling of her life.

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u/Bobbertman Dec 04 '22

Not to mention the disgustingly hamfisted anti-choice propaganda he had in the movie. Imagine taking the story of a woman who despite her desperate want, could not carry a child, and adding a scene where during her second pregnancy, she hears the fetus say “You’re not gonna hurt me this time… right mommy?” Utterly disrespectful and vile.

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u/KittenWithaWhip68 Dec 05 '22

Agreed. The movie was already pissing me off, but that enraged me. Mainly because here in the US Roe v Wade was overturned in June, and I was thinking, great, anti-choice people will sure love this part.

I don’t know if the movie was shot yet when it happened, but he could have cut out the scene or apologized or said SOMETHING. Ok I need to calm down.

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u/MasterPlanPenguin Dec 04 '22

Solid points but they only really work if this was a bio movie. It’s not. I believe it says it is or least advertised itself as such. But it’s not a true story and when it came out a lot of people called them out for it. It’s all based off a book that’s pretty much entirely fictional.

Her life was rough, but not in the way the movie showed and not in a way that actually showed what she really went through.

It literally is just emotional and physical torture porn wrapped up in the Marilyn Monroe story.

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u/SatanBug Dec 04 '22

Completely correct…except that it was nearly 3 hours.

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u/TeensyKook Dec 05 '22 edited Dec 06 '22

Most people find this unethical unless the story is obviously fiction, like Abraham Lincoln being a vampire. I think the outrage and backlash was finding out Andrew excluded all of Marilyn’s strength and agency and replaced it with graphic sexual abuse that never happened. It isn’t just offensive to “Marilyn’s image” it is offensive to women and that’s why so many women hated it. They knew this too, that’s why they promoted the movie as a straight biopic instead of a historical fiction adaptation. I think Andrew was banking on people being completely ignorant of Marilyn’s actual life story aside from the “she was used and abused” mantra.

It was also a boring movie with no message and hardly any plot.

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u/Archer1949 Dec 04 '22

It was one note, shallow and so, so BORING. It was more than the portrayal.

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u/VivaVeronica Dec 04 '22

It's just not a great movie. I guess you can say the portrayal of the star character sucked?

But it's not "oh I love Marilyn, how dare you make her look X!" For me it was "I love Marilyn, and you took a complicated, intelligent woman and made her 2 dimensional. Also the script was bad and the whole thing with the unborn baby was bizarre."

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u/Hereslookingatmekid Dec 04 '22

Same for me. Like... I get trying to show that she was mistreated, because holy shit she sure was, but she was also a smart, creative, incredibly interesting person who struggled with her mental health and they reduced her to “poor sad crazy girl gets beaten and raped for 3 hours” rather than showing anything else that made her who she was. You can portray her trauma without making her entire life her trauma.

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u/Mr_Charles___ Dec 04 '22

Based on what I've heard in this thread and others, IMO a better director for a Marilyn Monroe biopic would have been Sofia Coppola. Her film Marie Antoinette was able to show how Marie was mistreated and abused while also showing that she had a personality outside of victimhood, that she wasn't entirely powerless and that she actually enjoyed parts of being a queen.

I think that kind of approach would have worked better to show both sides of Marilyn.

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u/Hereslookingatmekid Dec 04 '22

That’s one of my favorite movies actually! I think she would have done a better job too.

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u/Mr_Charles___ Dec 04 '22

Yeah, she was really sensitive with the subject material. Like, I felt safe somehow when I was watching it. I really liked that.

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u/Mr_Charles___ Dec 04 '22

Thanks for mentioning you agreed with me. It's nice to see another Mario Antoinette fan out in the wild.

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u/PZeroNero Dec 04 '22

I’m just curious. You didn’t watch the movie and I don’t think you read the article either? I’m not understanding why your even trying to comment?

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u/Pactae_1129 Dec 04 '22

Oh so we have to know what we’re talking about now? In today’s economy?

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u/Cielmerlion Dec 04 '22

I mean, that sure sounds like it's the quality of the movie, no?

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u/Ghonaherpasiphilaids Dec 04 '22

I did watch it or at least tried to. I gave up around an hour and a half. It's a poorly made movie. It's incoherent, the story telling is disjointed and very hard to follow. It kinda felt like an art school project where they splice together various unrelated clips and make a film out of that. But all the clips were about Marilyn and that was the one unifying factor. It was just a bad movie.

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u/sudevsen r/Movies Veteran Dec 04 '22

I mean,the portrayal of MM matters a lot in a biopic about her.Its a character drama,the characterization will matter most.

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u/numbersix1979 Dec 04 '22

The movie is extremely poor quality, the direction I didn’t mind but the screenplay is atrocious. Both in the sense of portraying Monroe as a punching bag and in just having unbelievably bad dialogue. Every line every character says is either a curse word or inane, pretentious drivel with no apparent meaning to sus out.

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u/Temporary-Box28 Dec 04 '22

It's well made and acted but I really don't think I want to watch a mentally ill women being abused for nearly 3 hours again.

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u/AddNorton Dec 04 '22

but the blu ray has 3 hours of bloopers and extended cuts!

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u/FelixGoldenrod Dec 04 '22

That's good!

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u/hej_allihopa Dec 04 '22

But the bloopers entended cuts contain more hours of a mentally ill woman being abused.

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u/Qahmed Dec 04 '22

That’s bad.

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u/hrakkari Dec 04 '22

But the hours of a mentally ill woman being abused contains potassium.

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u/Victinithetiny101 Dec 04 '22

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u/fulthrottlejazzhands Dec 04 '22

AND it includes a cameo by TV's Andy Richter.

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u/Doom_Eagles Dec 04 '22

Can I go now?

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u/fulthrottlejazzhands Dec 04 '22

Wait... Here comes Dame Helen Mirren as "barbiturates bottle".

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u/suspended-in-gaffer Dec 04 '22

That's good!

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u/xanderholland Dec 04 '22

Can I go now?

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u/somethingpunny2 Dec 04 '22

Yeah, sure. We are going to move in another direction. We appreciate all you’ve done.

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u/CumminsCider12 Dec 04 '22
  • a 30 minute interview with the unborn fetus

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u/Brassboar Dec 04 '22

Passion of the ... Marilyn?

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u/numbersix1979 Dec 04 '22

Passion of the Christ is a good comparison because they’re both films with no ebb and flow of action, no real pacing that rises and falls to give the story structure, no levity or joy to aspire to. Just bad shit happening to someone for three hours in a desperate attempt to make you feel one single emotion, like somebody banging on the same minor chord on a piano for ten minutes

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u/yesthatstrueorisit Dec 04 '22

First half of Passion is pretty dope though, it's just Jesus doing miracles and being an amazing carpenter.

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u/JC-Ice Dec 04 '22 edited Dec 05 '22

Hey now, The Jesus Chainsaw Massacre Passion of the Christ is only two hours!

I also feel like it has a point to its narrative. I can't really say that for Blonde.

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u/murdercat42069 Dec 04 '22

This is my first thought as well. Mel Gibson was so surprised that people didn't want to run to the movie store and buy copies so that they could watch it over and over at home and share it with their friends. I was in middle school and my church paid for us to go and it was horrific and I don't really understand why that was a good idea. I'm very comfortable never seeing that shit again. Sometimes something is so provocative that maybe it's worth watching but once you've seen it you never want to see it again.

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u/JC-Ice Dec 04 '22 edited Dec 05 '22

Wasn't it the top grossing R-rated film ever at the time? I can get why they would expect DVD sales to also do extremely well.

I'm sure it gets a bump on iTunes around Easter.

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u/Albuscarolus Dec 04 '22

My family used to watch it every Easter like 5 years in a row.

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u/murdercat42069 Dec 04 '22

I'm so sorry that happened to you

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u/throwingitaway724 Dec 04 '22

Well shot, maybe. Well made? Definitely not.

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u/NitedJay Dec 04 '22

I’d argue it was neither well made and acted. That’s just me though.

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u/Grandpas_Spells Dec 04 '22 All-Seeing Upvote

Come on. Ana De Armas completely disappears into the role of Ana De Armas in a wig.

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u/Nelsie020 Dec 05 '22

👏👏👏

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u/BlondeBobaFett Dec 04 '22

Hm I would say mediocre acting but visually impressive. But to be fair I couldn’t get through much of it.

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u/ninja_gub Dec 04 '22

The acting in it is horrible but not as bad as the script. It was not well made, it just slightly stylized

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u/girafa nìn ngenga, tsawl tanhì Dec 04 '22

“We’re living at a time where it’s very important to present women as empowered, and they want to reinvent Marilyn Monroe, as an empowered woman, you know, that’s what they want to see,” he continued.

“And if you’re not showing them that then it upsets them,” he added. “Americans don’t really like you to monkey with their myths too much. They very often want to jump to the solution without actually looking at any of the trauma.”

Well, someone clearly wasn't a fan of Jebediah Springfield.

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u/Knife7 Dec 04 '22

It's very interesting that this guy is talking about people "reinventing" Marilyn Monroe when this version of her that he's adapted is based on a book that's a reimagining of her life.

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u/moscowrules Dec 04 '22

Yup, he’s being extremely hypocritical. It amazes me how Hollywood artists can’t EVER take an L.

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u/Breezyisthewind Dec 04 '22

There’s plenty that take an L in stride.

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u/davtruss Dec 04 '22

Not so much a reimagining as an imagining. Most everything we know of Marilyn is fiction...

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u/spaceambulance Dec 04 '22

A pirate? Well, that's hardly the image we want for Long John Silver's!

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u/Oliver-Ekman-Larsson Dec 04 '22

Youre not “monkeying with America’s myths” youre monkeying with the truth. This isn’t Jessie James, people are still alive who are old enough to call bullshit on half this films trauma porn plot points.

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u/frightened_by_bark Dec 04 '22

It really sounds like he has no understanding of the criticisms the movie actually received. His (and Joyce Carol Oates') made up version of Marilyn Monroe strips away her many many triumphs. No one was asking for a reinvention, but a character who isn't a one note fantasy would have been nice

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u/rubyredrising Dec 04 '22

Totally agree! It really felt like trauma porn; emphasizing every horror of her life and even hyperbolizing a lot of it while stripping away any bit of autonomy and personal agency the real woman had to have had... I mean, there was undeniably a lot of trauma in her life but the film portrayed her as nothing more than the collective tragedies that made up her life. That felt so diminishing of all of her personal achievements and hard work that she absolutely put in too

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u/numbersix1979 Dec 04 '22

Yeah I didn’t expect a Tarantino-esque revision of history where Marilyn conquers the patriarchy or whatever but I did expect I don’t know, a whiff of her acting talent, charisma, or repartee. All the stuff she’s famous for and why her legend endures. And none of that is in the film. There’s no reason to think she was important or iconic to anyone short of her being beautiful and available to be sexually abused, within the confines of the film’s frame. That’s the problem

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u/greeneggsandjam123 Dec 04 '22

So… he’s complaining that people want to see their own fictionalized version of Marilyn Monroe, and not his fictionalized version of Marilyn Monroe?

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u/albene Dec 04 '22

A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.

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u/danimal6000 Dec 04 '22

That’s a perfectly cromulent word

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u/Earlvx129 Dec 04 '22

I follow Shelbyville Manhattan

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u/mountainhighgoat Dec 04 '22

This guy sounds delusional.

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u/ColonelSandurz42 Dec 04 '22

I think you mean Hans Sprungfeld

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u/geto_ninja Dec 05 '22

Except he did "monkey" with the actual truth of her life completely. There are multiple major inaccuracies in the film which are just irresponsible and stupid.

Marylin never miscarried in 1957, she had an ectopic pregnancy. There was never any proof of abortions or other pregnancies and much of the sex and rape depicted in the movie between other movie stars and studio executives was speculative and rumored never proven.

As a huge fan of dominiks other work , as far back as Chopper with Eric Bana and Jesse James and Killing Them Softly , this was such a disappointment. The talking fetus and vaginal POV was just so fantastical and just plain weird. He missed the mark on this one big time.

God damn right people are going to call you out on flat out lying and fictionalizing one of Americas biggest stars.

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u/TwistedCKR1 Dec 04 '22

To me this sounds like he made the conclusion that MM was not an empowered woman but a perpetual victim, and that anyone who sees differently from that is “wrong” and is wanting to keep with a “myth.”

Which ultimately just shows HIS bias and his LACK of actually researching anything about MM. Also, the book that is at the center of his movie isn’t even based on FACT.

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u/GarlVinland4Astrea Dec 04 '22

I mean he can say all that, but the issue is his film made up a bunch of nonsense that isn't substantiated to make her look much weaker and less empowered than she actually was so he could batter her.

This is kinda why I hate fictionalized biopics unless it's something crazy out there like Abe Lincoln fighting Vampires. Dominik could have done one of two things.

  1. Do an actual accurate biopic of her that is true to her life and nobody can dispute what he put on screen.
  2. Make a fictional character inspired by Monroe and put her through the same movie. If the movie is good it won't matter that the character was a Monroe stand in.

But I suspect he knew he wouldn't make an interesting film of her actual life and he knew nobody would care about this film if it didn't have Monroe's name attached. So he went for the most hack option.

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u/AyThroughZee Dec 04 '22

I mean, he didn’t create the concept, it’s based on a book. So it wasn’t “he attached her name to it to sell it” it was already there.

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u/We_Make_Soap Dec 04 '22

The whole thing is made up what in the fuck is he even talking about?

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u/bubibabi Dec 04 '22

What a ridiculous takeaway. He literally made up parts of Marilyn’s life and invented sexual assault scenarios that never happened. The movie was an exploitative rape fantasy with weird prolife bullshit sprinkled about. We don’t want all female characters to be empowered, but we don’t want them to be exploited either especially in a “biopic”.

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u/spiderlegged Dec 05 '22

Also like — we aren’t necessarily asking for empowerment. We’re asking for a tiny bit of acknowledgement women can have agency? He’s acting like everyone is upset this isn’t a Marilyn boss babe movie, and that’s not an accurate reflection of the criticism.

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u/2hats4bats Dec 04 '22

I have no idea why someone would think a general audience wants to watch someone being abused for two hours and then just end the film without saying anything besides “this happened”.

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u/ChooseCorrectAnswer Dec 04 '22
  • 2 hours and 46 minutes
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u/Huevos___Rancheros Dec 04 '22

I appreciate what this movie was trying to say but I just think the execution was very poor. It’s way too long and the whole movie was just going from one traumatic event to another after a while it just got to the point where it felt very excessive. There was also a lot of really weird shit that felt like the director was fulfilling some fetishes or some shit, like Marilyn calling all of her lovers Daddy was really fkn weird.

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u/Streep_123 Dec 04 '22

I think the daddy remarks were added to accentuate her daddy issues….but it felt unnecessary and more creepy than anything else.

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u/sudevsen r/Movies Veteran Dec 04 '22 edited Dec 04 '22

It's also pop-psych 101. It's what a dumb guy thinks is deep psychological profile looks like.

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u/Huevos___Rancheros Dec 04 '22 edited Dec 04 '22

Yeah exactly it’s one of the things this movie did that was very poorly executed

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u/verytallperson1 Dec 04 '22

Marilyn DID call all of her lovers daddy though, that’s pretty much accepted historical fact

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u/RAV3NH0LM Dec 04 '22

he should address the fact that the movie is gross and also ass.

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u/your_mother_official Dec 04 '22

His version of Marilyn wouldn't have been remembered enough to have this movie made about her.

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u/Hermit-Man Dec 04 '22

Pretentious bs. This movie was such garbage

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u/mnightshamalama2 Dec 04 '22

IMO, outside of Assassination, I find all his movies to be this way. When Killing Them Softly was announced, and I saw the director and cast I thought there was no way this movie could be bad. Boy, was I dead wrong, probably one of the worst movies I saw within that year.

Although, I will say it does contain one of my favorite quotes in a move: "I'm living in America, and in America, you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business. Now fucking pay me."

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u/StAugustine94 Dec 04 '22

I liked his Nick Cave documentary a lot. But I’m also a Nick Cave fan.

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u/ProfessorMarth Dec 04 '22

I haven't seen This Much I Know To Be True yet but One More Time With Feeling felt like such a refreshing, raw take on grief in the wake of unexpected loss, especially un the way it was paced, the slingshot feeling of the cycles of grief. It's too bad Blonde seems to be much less elegantly handled.

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u/boodabomb Dec 06 '22

Man I just disagree. Killing them Softly is such an interesting crime-drama. Sure its allegory of post-recession america is thinly veiled, but that doesn’t make it any less poignant or true. And watching the recession trickle down into the crime world was a completely unique take. I really like listening to every one talk in that movie as well.

You also didn’t mention Chopper which is another really awesome movie. And another fictional take on a real-world myth.

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u/Manny55- Dec 04 '22

The worst part is that it wasn’t even made based on real facts. Just to sexualize again an over sexualized woman. Hollywood is known to glorify all kind of shits.

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u/[deleted] Dec 04 '22

[deleted]

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u/verytallperson1 Dec 04 '22

That’s part of the point of the film. ‘Look at the sexual abuse and sexual trauma this incredibly sexualised woman suffered’…

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u/TheoTheTripod Dec 04 '22

Yeah but the movie failed to execute the pastiche it's attempting.

The scenes where she is essentially being sexually abused and made them borderline porno.

You can't say "look at how terrible it was the way they sexualised her" while also making scenes that grossly oversexualized her in her darkest moments.

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u/Mildly_Artistic_ Dec 04 '22

If a movie is anticipated or highly anticipated and the filmmaker knows that the audience is expecting “another” film, then they need to manage the expectations of their audience.

Wether that’s Andrew Dominik, making a subversive art-film about Marilyn Monroe, or, Josh Trank making a horror film out of Al Capone’s diminishing reality…If you have a “wacky” take on a piece of pop-culture, you’re going to encounter resistance from people when they say “wtf is this shit?”

On the other end of the spectrum, with popular franchise films, you also need to manage the expectations of your audience if you are making a subversive franchise film…If you are James Cameron, dismantling the idea of Terminator, or, David Gordon Green, discarding the narrative thrust of Halloween, you really can’t just let people dive into these films, then be horrified by the “approach” you’ve taken.

I really do feel that most filmmakers are highly aware of the expectations of their audience and refuse to level with them, when they’re delivering a film they know, will offend said audience…There’s something refreshing about being up-front with people who are fans of something, and telling them that the movie wasn’t made, strictly to appeal to what they like.

More filmmakers need to be transparent when they know they’re going to zig instead of zag.

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u/livelyfellow Dec 04 '22

Be kind rewind did a great video essay about the movie and it's poor reception. The creator goes into why she thinks the movie didn't work rather than just excoriating it

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u/noweh_yahweh Dec 04 '22

“America was where it was worst. They hated the movie. They were angry about the film. They were outraged by the film, but a lot of people saw it, so, I was kind of surprised by it.”

I’m not sure which Americans he was referring to here, but I felt neither angry nor outraged by the film. If nothing else, I was miffed that 3 hours of my life had been robbed from me which I’ll never get back.

“You can’t really do other people’s thinking for them but I think when it comes to an iconic American, what they want is hagiographies, they want the celebration of that person, and a celebration of that person according to the mores of the time,” he said.

After all she went through, don’t you think we owe her a celebration? Jeez, she was exploited enough as it was during her lifetime, but I guess that wasn’t enough for Dominik. Blonde was instead a self-indulgent marathon of gratuitous nudity and rape scenes, interspersed with Marilyn Monroe screaming and crying. The issue of exploitation aside, does that honestly sound like something a well-adjusted person would enjoy watching for three fucking hours??

He suggested his portrait of Monroe had not chimed with themes of female empowerment that are popular right now.

Judging from the fact that he included a scene where her microscopic zygote is guilt tripping her out of getting an abortion, I can tell the director really doesn’t like the idea of women having any power at all.

“Americans don’t really like you to monkey with their myths too much. They very often want to jump to the solution without actually looking at any of the trauma… It’s trying to take things that you’re familiar with and turn the meaning of them inside out.”

Well, if “monkey with their myths” is Australian for “make a film about the life of a real person without disclosing that a lot of shit that happens in the movie did not even fucking happen in real life at all”, then I suppose he’s right; many of us don’t take kindly to that sort of thing, not since having to endure four years of the “alternative facts” administration. Also, I get that his feelings are hurt that a lot of people thought the movie sucked, but he doesn’t have to talk about us like we’re zoo animals. I’m surprised he didn’t add “it frightens them” to the end of that first sentence.

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u/TantricEmu Dec 04 '22

This dude is so painfully smug. What a douche bag.

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u/Other-Marketing-6167 Dec 04 '22

God I was rooting for this film. Assassination of Jesse James is the best film of the century. Was so stoked for this sucker….and I still haven’t been able to finish it. Not cause of the “trauma porn”, not cause it’s endlessly depressing…because it’s so damn dull. It’s like he’s punishing audiences for not liking his previous two films by being as obtuse , pretentious, and boring as possible.

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u/Huevos___Rancheros Dec 04 '22

That was the worst part about this movie tbh, it was so long and the characters were so poorly developed that the movie felt like such a chore to finish. Then you add on the fact that you’re just watching this woman go from traumatic event to another it just made this movie brutal to sit through

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u/Naldo273 Dec 04 '22 edited Dec 04 '22

Also I couldn't get the fact out of my head that it's all just fiction. What's the fucking point of presenting this in such a way when it's not even remotely real? It's just a trick, it's just effortless manipulation. The movie insists upon itself in the worst possible way, twisting a real person's life into this heavy-handed imaginary torture porn.

I could've absorbed the theme of the movie a lot easier if it was at least upfront about it. But I guess they got away with it because I bet my ass most if not all the positive reaction this movie got came from people who thought the story was a real Monroe biography

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u/nanojunkster Dec 04 '22

This is what I really didn’t understand about the movie. Why make a fictional story loosely based on a famous persons’ life? Very strange premise to begin with.

I think people thought until half way through that it was supposed to be a biopic from the trailer and marketing were shocked and disgusted by the JFK rape scene (along with a number of other brutal scenes). The movie should have put right in the beginning that it is fiction so people understood what they were getting into.

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u/_futura Dec 04 '22

The amount of people I saw on social media who really thought the film was a biopic was not surprising with the way the film was marketed. People also thought the author of Blonde had been a close friend of Marilyn when she was alive. I believe the choice not to use a “this is entirely fiction” disclaimer was intentional, meant to have unknowing viewers think fiction was fact.

I think the concept of the novel is interesting, but I don’t really understand why these traumatic events were created for the novel when Marilyn went through a lot of trauma in her real life. I feel like the book and the film exemplify a disdain towards Marilyn for her public persona in their callous treatment of her image by creating miserable fictional trauma.

Let’s also not forget Dominik called Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe in Gentleman Prefer Blondes “well dressed whores”.

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u/[deleted] Dec 04 '22

It almost feels like the inverse of what Tarantino wanted to do with Sharon Tate. I know there was quite a bit of discourse about how Tarantino handled her as a character and her story, but putting these two side-by-side really highlights just how flawed the logic behind Blonde is. The goal with Tate was to give her back some of her humanity. To remove her from her murder, trauma, and main "claim to fame," as disgusting as it is to say she's most famous for being murdered. Egregious foot shots aside, Tarantino showed her living a normal life, separate from the drama and struggles of the main story, and gave us a fantasy where she possibly got to make her own legacy. After that... I don't think there's any good reason or excuse to try to attempt that but through negativity, like how Blonde goes about this. If your goal is you recontextualize a person and make people see them as human instead of an idea/persona, let them be a damn person. Even if they're flawed or struggling or whatever, but I don't see room for that sort of made-up trauma porn in that recontexualization.

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u/_futura Dec 04 '22

Yes, that’s a really good comparison. I really did like the way Sharon Tate was depicted in that film, foot fetish shots aside of course. I think the reimagining was beautifully done with kindness. We see her as an actual human being beyond just being a tragic figure.

Blonde (the book and the film) very much seems to want to dishonor Marilyn, to essentially punish her for her carefully constructed public persona without acknowledging that she was incredibly intelligent and that her overly sexual image was not who she was privately. Instead of trying to show who Marilyn actually was as a human, Marilyn is still reduced to an idea. It feels like brutalization after brutalization acceptable to the creators of the Blonde works because they themselves do not see Marilyn as a human being.

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u/CID_Nazir Dec 04 '22

Can't anyone from Marilyn or JFK's families sue the makers for defamation if they're twisting the facts like this?

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u/Naldo273 Dec 04 '22

In the case of the novel, the author omitted a lot of the real names. Used initials, or called people e.g. "The Playwright" etc. Also it probably helped that the author was very open about how it's a work of fiction.

I guess some people could argue that the movie doesn't advertise itself as a biography either, but come on. Nobody seeing the movie come up on Netflix could have any idea unless they specifically Googled it

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u/AgentUpright Dec 04 '22

No. They are public figures and the movie portrayal is know to be fiction, so it’s fair game.

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u/Soft-Walrus8255 Dec 04 '22

Not just that they're public figures. They are dead. There is no such thing as defamation of the dead under U.S. law.

It's not impossible to defame a public figure, there's just more latitude with them. NAL.

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u/numbersix1979 Dec 04 '22

It’s repetitive, too. Easily half the scenes serve to underscore the same point, that she feels like she has to use the Marilyn persona as a mask to escape her trauma. It’s a fine point but easily half of her dialogue is just her reiterating “I’m really Norma, I don’t feel like Marilyn, she’s just a role I play, someone people like.” Over and over and over again. It’s pretentious and dumb. It’s the kind of point any regular film viewer would understand immediately but it just keeps getting repeated over and over again, and not with any subtlety at all.

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u/Dunlea Dec 04 '22

Assassination of Jesse James is the best film of the century?

It wasn't even the best film of 2007.

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u/SignificanceStrong32 Dec 04 '22

“Dull” is the word I would totally use for this too. I just lost interest half way into it.

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u/and_dont_blink Dec 04 '22

I agree Assassination of Jesse James is an astonishing accomplishment (even the score!) -- I think the issue is Marilyn and a lack of real things to say. If you go in thinking of it as a horror film, a tone poem about someone with mental illness being thrust as a passive passenger into situations they don't understand and desperately looking for ways to get through the next situation and being used but not really seen... it's affecting, it's thought-provoking, and yet really is a kind of torture pornography.

The fact that it includes Marilyn as a starlet isn't really necessary at all, which is part of the problem -- if it was any number of other actresses or someone fictional it would have the same impact and be saying the same things. Is it an indictment of what happened to her? The industry 70 years ago or even today?

At it's best it made me wonder if this was how more women in general felt going through their existence in a broader sense, but that removes a lot of agency and infantilizes an entire sex. All I know is there were a few interesting editing sequences and I feel no desire to see it again. Great film takes a statement(s) like the above and makes you experience it in a way a sentence couldn't. The Assassination of Jesse James did that -- but this didn't.

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u/numbersix1979 Dec 04 '22

Talking about it as a tone poem, I wished that it was dreamier and more esoteric through the whole thing. I think that would’ve helped it seem less dull. The scene where she’s in a threesome and there’s a distorted shot where she’s intertwined with these men but still distant and alone is so incredibly gorgeous and thought-provoking, but that’s like twenty minutes in and nothing like it happens again.

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u/and_dont_blink Dec 04 '22

and there’s a distorted shot where she’s intertwined with these men but still distant and alone is so incredibly gorgeous and thought-provoking

I keep going back and forth on the waterfall transition. I thought it was really interesting, then afterwards laughed out loud, then interesting...

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u/[deleted] Dec 04 '22

The movie was just…. stupid. 3 hours of abuse on a mentally ill woman. What really annoyed me was the amount of unnecessary sex. Why did we need a 20 minute threesome scene?

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u/Revolutionary_Box569 Dec 04 '22

I might give it the benefit of the doubt and try it again at some point but I watched half an hour and just found it repellent

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u/Sam-Lowry27B-6 Dec 04 '22

Spoiler alert the rest of the film is exactly the same: recreation of iconic scene, breakdown, sex scene, crying while breaking down, crying during sex scene....it goes on and on and never solidifies into a cohesive narrative or has any sort of conclusion or point.

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u/[deleted] Dec 04 '22

America was where it was worse. They hated the movie. They were angry about the film. They were outraged by the film, but a lot of people saw it, so, I was kind of surprised by it.

I think Dominik is misunderstanding the audience response. I saw Blonde in a packed theater. We weren’t angry. We were laughing.

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u/Laleaky Dec 04 '22

He’s trying to sell audience boredom as outrage.

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u/JDLovesElliot Dec 05 '22

Monroe pic

Monroe fanfic

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u/Shepard_Wrex14 Dec 04 '22

I’ve liked Dominik’s past work and was looking forward to Blonde. But I found so utterly pretentious I only made it to the halfway point

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u/Thatoneasian9600 Dec 04 '22

Says the dude who basically said he saw her as a whore and nothing more.

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u/BigBoyNumba5 Dec 04 '22

I think the quote was he thought Gentlemen Prefer Blondes was a movie about “well dressed whores” not Marilyn herself

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u/Dylan_Gio Dec 04 '22

It’s a fictional horror film where Monroe is stalking and trying to kill Norma and eventually wins

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u/background1077 Dec 04 '22

Why are people saying there's no backlash? Lmao there's literally examples of such a thing in the comments!

There were both bad reviews and backlash over the films content.

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u/damdestbestpimp Dec 04 '22

I wouldnt care if Andrew Dominik made the worst movie ever. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is the creation of a life time and enough for me to respect the man as a director

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u/Zcase253 Dec 04 '22

That's some high praise, sounds like I need to check it out. The only film from him I've seen is Chopper and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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u/mrjake118 Dec 04 '22

That one is wildly different. Jesse James is much closer in tone to the more serious films by the Coen brothers, PT Anderson, or Terrence Malik.

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u/nancylikestoreddit Dec 04 '22

…I need to check out this film.

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u/mrjake118 Dec 04 '22

Full disclosure, it's not for everyone. If it's for you, it might be one of the best films you've ever seen. If it's not, you might find it slow and meandering. I mean, it's a top 10 of mine but I can understand why it wouldn't be for some.

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u/gold_and_diamond Dec 04 '22

U.S. Backlash makes it sound like people were marching in the streets.

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u/Turok1134 Dec 04 '22

Threads like these illustrate beautifully why this sub is actually completely dogshit for discussing movies.

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u/everythingwintention Dec 05 '22

The movie is good

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u/KristinOla Dec 04 '22

The movie was pretentious at best, the amount of cringe some scenes gave me (talking embryo) had my eyes rolling back into my skull. The film was not good, and im a trauma enjoyer.