After being postponed for a long time, the movie Blonde is finally available on Netflix. Between the ban on those under 18 and the controversies, a look back at the chaotic journey of the fake biopic on Marilyn Monroe with Ana de Armas.
Available since September 28 on Netflix, Blonde is a bold reinterpretation of the trajectory of Marilyn Monroe, one of the most timeless Hollywood icons. This anti-biopic by Andrew Dominik, adapted from the bestseller of the same name by Joyce Carol Oates, traces the tumultuous childhood, meteoric rise and complex love stories of Norma Jeane/Marilyn.
Blurring the line between fact and fiction, Blonde explores the major gap between her public persona and the person she was in private. It is the actress Ana de Armas who embodies the missing Hollywood star. At his side, we find Bobby Cannavale (Boardwalk Empire), Adrian Brody (The Pianist, The Grand Budapest Hotel), Julianne Nicholson (Masters of Sex), Caspar Philipson (Jackie, Mission Impossible: Fallout) or even Toby Huss (Jerry Maguire, Ghostbusters).
A film surrounded by controversy
You should know that Blonde has encountered many obstacles before it can finally be released on Netflix. This is a long-standing project for Andrew Dominik who took more than ten years to see the light of day, with a succession of names to camp Marilyn Monroe, between Naomi Watts and Jessica Chastain, before the choice was made. stops on Ana de Armas.
After a long production – the film having had difficulty finding financing -, filming finally begins in August 2019. Filming then takes place until July 2021, with the release window on Netflix: the end of the year 2021 This was without taking into account the explicit content of the feature film, at the origin of the controversies, which led to a heated discussion between Andrew Dominik and Netflix.
Artistic differences between the two parties arose regarding the final cut, which did not please the representatives of the platform at all. According to the indiscretions of the often well-informed journalist, Jordan Ruimy, published on World of RealNetflix would have horrified with very graphic sex scenes, including “a rape sequence” and a scene of “bloody cunnilingus during menstruation” [démentie depuis et inexistante dans le film, ndlr].
This version of Blonde had then been pushed back by the American giant, which did not plan a release before 2022 as long as Andrew Dominik had not retouched the film. Finally, the two parties have found common ground: Netflix will release the feature film in the version wanted by the director, but it will be subject to a restriction and will be prohibited for those under 17 in the United States (the equivalent of a ban on those under 18 in France).
It is the first Netflix original movie to be banned for ages 17 and older. But this classification suits Andrew Dominik, who confided to Collider that he was reassured: “Netflix lets me release the movie I wanted to make, and even with the 17-and-under ban, I think that’s pretty cool.”
A choice approved by the director but criticized by his main actress Ana de Armas, who told the The official magazine that this decision was unfair and incomprehensible:
“I didn’t understand why this happened. I can cite many films or series that are much more explicit than Blonde. But to tell this story well, it’s important to show those moments in Marilyn’s life that made her what she has become. We had to explain it.”
Lucky children were able to see a version of the film, like Pedro Almodovar, who loved it but who concedes that the film will inevitably divide. The Spanish filmmaker had given a precise review of Blonde to the newspaper ElDiario:
“If it had come out a few years earlier, when #MeToo arrived, the film would have been the perfect representation of this movement. We live in a time where we now know what the limits are. It’s a film that expresses a form of morality about it, but it swims in very murky waters because I don’t think it’s an easy subject to talk about.”
The final editing process took some time and Blonde couldn’t be ready for the various film festivals. It is therefore in 2022 that the course of the feature film is accelerating. After a stop at the Cannes Film Festival, for reasons explained by Thierry Frémaux, it was at the Venice Film Festival that Blonde was finally screened in preview with a 14-minute standing ovation.
After this triumph, Blonde also appeared at the Deauville Festival, in addition to some exceptional screenings in theaters in France. The feature film is now available on Netflix worldwide, although it will divide.
Andrew Dominik had warned in an interview with Screen Daily at the time of the controversy, Blonde is “a demanding film”: “If the public doesn’t like it, that’s their problem. It’s not made to please everyone”. At least the public is warned.
SPOTLIGHT – Our “3 Films” podcast on Marilyn Monroe:
Blonde is available on Netflix.