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How is Netflix's Blonde different to previous Marilyn Monroe biopics?  

Ana de Armas plays the Hollywood icon

blonde netflix
Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
Updated: September 29, 2022
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Netflix's new Marilyn Monroe biopic, Blonde, made its highly anticipated debut on Wednesday. The 166-minute film, which stars Ana de Armas as the Hollywood icon, is added to the long list of dramatisations of the actress's life, but just what makes the movie different to other biopics that have been made about the star? 

MORE: Ana de Armas opens up about the 'exhausting' process that was playing Marilyn Monroe

The film, written and directed by Andrew Dominik, is based on the 2000 biographical fiction novel of the same name by Joyce Carol Oates.

WATCH: Will you be watching the film? 

Perhaps unlike other biopics that have been made about the famous sex symbol, Andrew Dominik's new film is a fictionalised narrative of Marilyn's life and does not claim to be historically accurate. Instead, it is based on a novel that "plays with, rearranges and invents the details of Monroe's life in order to achieve a deeper poetic and spiritual truth," according to critic Elaine Showalter

blonde book

Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates, £9.99, Amazon


For example, another recent biographical film about the star is 2011's My Week with Marilyn, which was based on two books by Colin Clark that documented his personal experience with Marilyn and the time he spent with her on the set of the 1957 film, The Prince and the Showgirl.

MORE: Did you notice Ana de Armas' tribute to Marilyn Monroe at Venice Film Festival?

MORE: 7 most exciting new shows coming to Netflix in September 2022

Rather than being a definitive account strictly based on biographies and research, to which Andrew said he's done an "enormous amount" of, Blonde is an adaptation of a fiction book and is "really about adapting the feelings that the book gave me," says Andrew. 

netflix blonde ana© Photo: Netflix

Blonde is based on a biographical fiction novel

He told BFI: "I see the film, in some ways, as Joyce's vision of Marilyn, which is also really Joyce. So I think the film is about the meaning of Marilyn Monroe. Or a meaning. 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?"

He went on to say: "I know the ways in which this is different from what people seem to agree happened. Not that everyone's sure. Nobody really knows what the [expletive] happened. So it's all fiction anyway, in my opinion."

blonde ana netfliz© Photo: Netflix

Ana de Armas stars as Marilyn in the film

Unlike previous biopics about the star, Blonde has received an NC-17 rating due to "some sexual content". 

Director Andrew was surprised by the rating. He told Decider, "I didn't want to make an NC-17 movie. And I actually felt that we coloured between the lines. But I think we exist in a time now where nobody’s really sure what the boundaries are. What's cancelable and what's not? It seems like people are very scared of being criticised, particularly when it comes to depictions of women. I think they probably just erred on the side of caution."

Blonde is available to stream on Netflix. 

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