'Blonde': why are viewers so upset and disgusted by Marilyn Monroe biopic?

The film, released on Netflix, has been receiving mixed reactions from audiences

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It may have received a 14-minute standing ovation from audience members after its premiere at the Venice Film Festival last month, but some Netflix viewers are switching Blonde off after 20 minutes.

The Marilyn Monroe biopic, directed by Andrew Dominik and starring Ana de Armas as the lead, is based on Joyce Carol Oates’s fictionalised account of the Hollywood star’s trauma-filled life.

And while film critics have been divided, many viewers have taken to social media to say they found the almost three-hour film unwatchable owing to graphic scenes of abuse, violence and rape.

"Tried to watch @netflix Blonde. Couldn’t stomach more than about 20 minutes of the nearly three-hour length. That 20 minutes was nothing but cruel and heartbreaking. Absolutely unwatchable," one viewer wrote on Twitter.

Another said: "I’ve been watching Blonde for 20 minutes and I’m sick to my stomach."

Another viewer criticised the way a scene of sexual assault had been portrayed. "Started Blonde and turned it off in record time. Graphically showing rape on screen is not in any way a meaningful way to portray the horrors of sexual assault. Please, I’m begging you, leave this woman alone and quit slapping SA survivors and women in the face."

Others branded the film “misogynstic” and said they felt it to be disrespectful to Monroe’s memory.

"Can we all make a collective agreement to leave Marilyn Monroe alone from now on?” wrote one viewer. “She was hounded in life & now hounded in death. I really wanted to respect #Blonde but honestly, acting aside, the whole thing made me feel ill & uncomfortable. Maybe I'm missing something #Netflix."

Actress and model Emily Ratajkowski also spoke out over the film in a recent TikTok video, saying: “So I’ve been hearing a lot about this Marilyn Monroe movie Blonde, which I haven’t seen yet, but I’m not surprised to hear that it’s yet another movie fetishising female pain.”

However, many people watching were quick to praise de Armas’s performance. The actress has been tipped for an Oscar nomination for the role.

"I’ve watched #Blonde. It’s one of the most misogynist films I’ve ever seen,” one viewer wrote. “Not a film about misogyny but a misogynist film. I could weep for Ana de Armas — who was superb — playing in such a vile and exploitative mess. She and MM deserve so much better."

Updated: October 04, 2022, 7:24 AM
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