The film starring Ana de Armas as the cultural icon has been panned by viewers as exploitative as it recreates several tragedies throughout Monroe's life, including the abuse she endured from her mother, the sexual assault she experienced in Hollywood, and a depiction of abortion. Oates dismissed the notion that Dominik's retelling is exploitative, calling the film "brilliant."
"I think it was/is a brilliant work of cinematic art obviously not for everyone," the author wrote on Twitter following the film's release. "Surprising that in a post#MeToo era the stark exposure of sexual predation in Hollywood has been interpreted as 'exploitation.' surely Andrew Dominik meant to tell Norma Jeane's story sincerely."
I think it was/is a brilliant work of cinematic art obviously not for everyone. surprising that in a post#MeToo era the stark exposure of sexual predation in Hollywood has been interpreted as "exploitation." surely Andrew Dominik meant to tell Norma Jeane's story sincerely. https://t.co/YCehGfskds
— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) September 30, 2022
The filmmaker recently addressed some of the controversy in an interview with British Film Institute's Sight and Sound magazine, explaining that he was mainly concerned with telling a story "about how childhood drama shapes an adult's perception of the world."
"I've read everything there is to read about Marilyn Monroe," Dominik said. "I've met people that knew her. I've done an enormous amount of research. But in the end, it's about the book. And adapting the book is really about adapting the feelings that the book gave me."
"So I think the film is about the meaning of Marilyn Monroe. Or a meaning," he added. "She was symbolic of something. She was the Aphrodite of the 20th century, the American goddess of love. And she killed herself. So what does that mean?" (The interview ignited even more controversy, as Dominik dismissed Monroe's Gentlemen Prefer Blondes as a film about "well-dressed whores.")
Netflix Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe in 'Blonde'
In an interview with EW, de Armas reflected on filming the scenes that required a heightened level of vulnerability and exposure. "It's harder for people to watch [those scenes] than for me to make them, because I understood what I was doing and I felt very protected and safe," she said. "I didn't feel exploited because I was in control."
"I made that decision," de Armas continued. "I knew what the movie I was doing. I trusted my director. I felt like I was in a safe environment. We had hundreds of conversations about these scenes. Everyone felt a deep respect for the movie we were making. And in that sense, I had no fear. I didn't feel uncomfortable at all, even though they were really hard scenes."
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