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Daddy’s Girl: ‘Blonde’ is more than you ever wanted to know about Marilyn Monroe | East Bay Express

NewsDaddy’s Girl: ‘Blonde’ is more than you ever wanted to know about Marilyn Monroe | East Bay Express


A number of notes on Andrew Dominik’s Blonde: Let’s be frank. Do we actually want one other retelling of the Marilyn Monroe story? Would possibly as effectively say: Let’s take one other take a look at Elvis Presley. Or Andy Warhol? Judy Garland? James Brown? Jim Morrison? Hank Williams? Alfred Hitchcock?

In fact, Monroe’s identify all the time comes up first as a result of she, alongside Presley, is arguably probably the most well-known American pop-culture icon of the twentieth century. However actually, is there anybody even remotely keen on studying the main points of Norma Jeane Mortensen’s life and profession who doesn’t already understand it just about by coronary heart at this stage? 

That’s what filmmaker Dominik, and the remainder of us, are up in opposition to with Blonde. The issue is easy methods to provide you with a brand new bundle, a recent means of explaining MM’s stranglehold on the American unconscious. Author-director Dominik—in a fictionalized adaptation primarily based on Joyce Carol Oates’ 2000 novel—solves most, however not all, of the apparent issues with a heavy handful of fashion.

Monroe is the all-time champ of “troubled” showbiz celebrities. Dominik parades her troubles throughout the display with sufficient “disjointed, distorted, hallucinatory” glee (these are writer Oates’ phrases) to fulfill probably the most ghoulish movie fanatic. Little Norma Jeane’s mom, a vindictive, alcoholic harpy brilliantly portrayed by Julianne Nicholson, dominates the early going, which encompasses a terrifying fire-in-the-hills sequence.

Nothing bothers Norma Jeane greater than the specter of her mustachioed lacking father, leering down from a framed, smudged picture on the wall. Younger actor Lily Fisher can be sadly memorable because the poor child herself. Essentially the most disturbing factor we discover out about Norma/Marilyn is her daddy advanced, a curse that revisits her consistently, in many various guises, in her 36 years on earth. 

The motion zips from Monroe’s nightmarish childhood to her sex-symbol starlet interval, a path of tears (too many to depend) punctuated by varied levels of rape. We’d have been gratified to see the adolescent Norma falling in love with somebody her personal age and discovering her personal sexuality in a relaxed setting, however that’ll by no means occur. 

Via all of it, Armas is certifiably beautiful and her impersonation is spotless. In the meantime Monroe’s tormentors, notably a pair of Hollywood vultures (Evan Williams, Xavier Samuel), are nearly as loathsome as one other latter-day sugar daddy, The President (Caspar Phillipson), a JFK-like barbarian who will get hurry-up blow jobs whereas a Secret Service goon watches. 

Life as a world-famous sexual plaything is insufferable. Everybody is aware of that and but everybody idolizes Monroe, from the Italian-American housewives within the kitchen of The Ex-Athlete (Bobby Cannavale, channeling Joe DiMaggio) to the group of ugly, contorted male faces howling for extra pores and skin in the course of the frantic Seven Yr Itch subway grate wind-up-the-skirt scene.

Her husband, The Ex-Athlete, disapproves of letting strangers ogle his spouse’s personal elements, and batters her for not main “an honest life.” It’s plainly horrible being MM, however Dominik appears content material to let it go at that.

One lover who appears to know Monroe is The Playwright, aka Arthur Miller (Adrien Brody), who like everybody else is astounded that this “dumb blonde” has truly learn and analyzed Chekhov—however he believes in her, regardless of her inadequacy jitters and drugs. As if to console us for witnessing such misery, the music rating by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis is completely beautiful, to go together with Chayse Irvin’s cinematography. 

Dominik can’t appear to reconcile MM’s effervescent display persona along with her depressing emotional state. That’s the value we pay for following her round. Peace of thoughts avoids her just like the plague.

She exclaims she by no means needed to be an actor—not like The Playwright, we don’t fairly imagine her. We develop annoyed with the discrepancies. 

Blonde is a part of the explanation why some folks mistrust films. Actual life by no means fairly measures as much as the dream, particularly when the dream is wrapped up within the story of the sexiest, most irresistible star of all of them. Blame Daddy.

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